Hospital policy removes Bibles from patients' rooms - WSMV Channel 4

Hospital policy removes Bibles from patients' rooms

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TULLAHOMA, TN (WSMV) -

Finding a Bible in one Middle Tennessee hospital may soon be difficult to do. Hundreds of people are petitioning the hospital, concerned about a policy prohibiting Bibles in its rooms.

However, hospital administrators contend it's not a political move. Rather, it's meant to protect people's health.

"A lot of people want to get right with the Lord before they die," said Ike McMillan, member of Victory Baptist Church.

The pastor and members of Victory Baptist Church in Tullahoma donate to The Gideons International, the Nashville-based organization that distributes Bibles free to hospitals so patients have access to them bedside.

But last week, church members discovered their local hospital, Harton Regional Medical Center, had taken Bibles out of all its patient rooms, and when one patient asked for a Bible the nurse didn't know where to get him one.

"To me, it's totally not fair to the patients not to have access to a Bible that someone donated money for and put in there," McMillan said.

Hospital administrators created a policy two years ago to remove Bibles from patients' rooms for health reasons, because a Bible can't be disinfected.

"We're concerned about not passing on hospital-infected diseased to others," said the Rev. Don Dixon, chaplain at Harton Regional Medical Center.

Bibles are still available in the hospital, but Dixon said some staff members may have not known where to find them. After receiving complaints, they've made some changes but say they're sticking with their policy.

Now, instead of putting Bibles in the rooms, the hospital has made laminated signs telling patients where they can get one.

That's not enough for some church members, who've started a petition to get Bibles back in the patients' rooms.

So far, it has collected more than 300 signatures.

Harton Regional Medical Center staff say they will even give patients their own Bible they can take home.

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