Indiscriminate spitting by visitors at hospitals is becoming a serious health hazard for patients, a survey has said.

The survey conducted by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences found that 90 per cent of visitors were guilty of spitting inside the hospital building and on the corridors of the premier institute. Even the corridors outside the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital have not been spared by habitual spitters.

This is exposing patients to the danger of infection of several respiratory diseases, said Dr. Bir Singh, department of community medicine at AIIMS.

Other Delhi hospitals like Safdarjung, Sir Ganga Ram, Ram Manohar Lohia and Deen Dayal Upadhyay hospital, visited by a PTI reporter, appeared to fare no better.

“People suffering from respiratory problems like tuberculosis, pneumonia, swine flu are carriers of these infectious diseases besides being themselves vulnerable. Their sputum lying in open is the biggest danger to a healthy person, leave alone hospital patients” said Dr. Bir Singh, department of community medicine, AIIMS.

The survey was conducted by the Department of Neurosciences of AIIMS.

“Ninety per cent of the people spit as a matter of sheer habit, 10 per cent said they were chewing tobacco and were compelled to expel the saliva” Dr. Manjari Tripathy, Department of Neurology, Neurosciences Centre, AIIMS said.

She added, “The spitters spare no corner of the hospital whether it is the wards, the corridors or even the ICU.”

“We organise regular educational talks, put up posters, provide spittoons and also cautionary signboards. But all these have proved useless,” Dr Singh said.

Doctor at the Ram Manohar Lohia hospital thought of imposing fines but found that the poor could not afford to pay.