The Clinton-Trump arguments grew so heated between patients in Southampton (N.Y.) Hospital's cardiopulmonary rehabilitation gym that the facility had to take emergency action last month.
The hospital posted a pink “safety notice” sign prohibiting political debate in the gym.
Don't laugh. Heart patients were yelling at each other while their fellow patients, who were using the treadmills and trying to reduce their stress levels, had no place to take refuge, Jessica Swiatocha, the rehab manager, told the East Hampton Star. “We were getting a lot of complaints from patients who didn't want to listen,” she said.
Tense political faceoffs can drive up stress, which in turn can raise blood pressure and heart rates, boost cortisol levels, and exacerbate diabetes or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Swiatocha said.
And that's not just for heart patients. Over half of U.S. adults find the 2016 election stressful, according to the American Psychological Association, which recommended that people avoid getting into political discussions if they think it could lead to conflict.
Patients have thanked Swiatocha for the no-debate policy, saying they were “so stressed out” before.
She's had to crack down on a few scofflaws, who thought the sign was a joke. But she expects the sign to come down after Election Day, assuming the nation's political mood relaxes.
Which may be a rather optimistic prediction.