We read an item in Outliers dealing with a ban on rubber and latex balloons at Atlantic City Medical Center (Jan. 24, p. 44).
In addition to the choking danger cited in your article, the pediatric medical community for several years has been aware of a potential allergic reaction to latex-based products. This is particularly true among children with a myelomeningocele disorder or congenital genitourinary anomaly.
Because of this danger, Shriners Hospitals for Crippled Children banned latex balloons several years ago. This policy is enforced at all 19 Shriners orthopedic hospitals and three burn units across the country, and it's one that we enthusiastically endorse here at the St. Louis unit.
All medical procedures at the St. Louis unit of Shriners Hospitals are screened to eliminate the presence of latex in patient-care areas. For example, we have replaced latex gloves with gloves manufactured from a hyper-allergenic synthetic material.
We believe it's the duty of a pediatric hospital to value above all else the health of its children. Our strict ban on latex is one of the many measures we have installed to ensure top-grade service.
Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children