As the school nurse used to say every time she called me, “Everything is fine.” But I will need everyone to have a little patience with me this week. 🙂
Blogging is an interesting form of communication/marketing. When I first suggested this format more than 12 (yes, 12!) years ago, there were a lot of skeptics. Who in the world would want to read a blog about doors and hardware – and especially the related code requirements? What if I wrote about something controversial and got into trouble? What if I shared too much personal information and seemed unprofessional, or kept it so dry and technical that it bored everyone to tears?
I think over the years I have found a balance…I use “funny” and often shocking photos to reinforce what I’m trying to teach. I write about historic and current events to explain why we have the code requirements that exist today. I answer your questions and I ask you for help when I need it. And sometimes I share news from my life because I’m a real person with a family, pets, road trips…the good, the bad, and the messy.
So…this weekend I spent 3 nights in the local hospital here in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, where I have lived for 6 years. As I was sitting in the lobby of our newest and fanciest hospital with my friend who was forcing breakfast on me, she said, “Every time I come here I feel like I’m on a movie set. It looks beautiful but it’s probably about ready to fall apart.”
Her assessment was 100% correct, at least from a hardware standpoint. This hospital was built within the last 5 years and it is affiliated with the best doctors in town. Prior to this weekend I had only been there as a visitor, but over the weekend I got a chance to really look at the doors and hardware.
There are basically 4 types of doors in the building – the automatic sliders at the entrances, a couple of sets of all-glass doors dividing one area of the hospital from another, some narrow-stile doors without door closers that feel like patio doors, and the vast majority of doors are hollow-core doors with light-duty levers and 3 1/2-inch hinges. I did not find a single fire door or enclosed exit stair in the place. It’s absolutely amazing the difference in construction requirements between Mexico and the US.
Here are some photos from the hospital…I’m sure you’ll see a few practices that differ from US health care facilities:
The lobby looks pretty fancy, and the blue tank next to the entrance is part of the system that sprays and sanitizes each person who enters – Covid precautions are pretty intense here. When it was time for us to leave, we had to wait because there was a “codigo blanco.” This is basically a lockdown that happens when a Covid patient enters the hospital. Nobody can go in or out or move around the facility – everything stops as the patient is transported to the area where they will receive treatment.
The egress stairs are not enclosed but they are marked with the required evacuation route signage:
And they are very serious about the prohibition of sugary beverages (and solid food and tobacco smoke):
Mexico is not totally without rules related to egress…from our room we could see the evacuation point where everyone is supposed to gather after they exit the building in an emergency.
The elevator lobby has the narrow stile doors I mentioned…no closers. This is true of many doors including the entrance to the emergency room.
A pair of glass doors separates the area with patient rooms from the medical office area. I guarantee that the door is propped open because the closer is not functioning properly.
There is a fire alarm system along with instructional signage for emergencies, but the “high voltage” electrical room has the same light-duty hardware used on the rest of the doors, and I’m sure this is not a fire door assembly.
I’m pretty sure the patient room doors are hollow core…here is the door to our room – approximately 48 inches wide with a light-duty office function lockset, tiny hinges, and no protection plates or edge guards:
If you’ve read this far you’re probably wondering why in the world I spent 3 nights in the hospital. The story includes kind of an epic rescue so I’ll share a few photos. Several months ago I mentioned my glamping project which is on a piece of land that we bought in the campo (out in the country). On Friday night we were celebrating a friend’s birthday with 3 other families plus the cowboys that work on our ranchito. At the bottom of our land there is a canyon with a river, and since the rainy season started early there was some water in the river. A bunch of the teenagers were climbing around on the giant boulders, and my 16YO son slipped and fell a few feet, with his shin taking the brunt of the force. His leg was shattered and there was no way he could hike out of the canyon, so our cowboys took a very gentle horse that happened to be at our place, and hauled my son to the top. He is now the proud owner of a titanium leg. It’s always something.
So needless to say, I’m behind (I use the weekends to try to catch up), so I’ll ask for your patience this week. If you have a code question, you can always click the orange ball on the right-hand side of the screen, and your question will be routed to one of my coworkers in your local Allegion office.
P.S. We received great care at the hospital, and my son is doing well. And if you’d like to take a guess at the cost of an ER visit, 3 nights in the hospital, a 3-page itemized list of medications and treatments, surgery to install the plates and pins, and 3 casts – all in the best hospital in town, leave a comment. 🙂
Thanks for the guesses! The cost was $120,000 pesos – about $6,000 USD. That’s the total cost – not the cost “after insurance.” I’d love to know what this would have cost in the US.