In more literate days in Australasia you often saw variations of a frightening message on dunny doors : It is no use standing on the toilet seat - crabs here can jump more than 40 feet . In a similar crude vein, the great Australian ballad Clancy of the Overflow came to mind when confronted by a repulsive sight when about to sit on a seat at the taxi rank and bus stop shelter opposite the main entrance of the Townsville General Hospital . There , sticking out like an infected thumb in the footpath , was the above large metal cover clearly marked SEWER , with a grotty overflow pattern . It looked as if there had been a bowel obstruction resulting in a shower of excreta , maybe even an ejaculation like the Pohutu Geyser at Rotorua.
Adding to this unhealthy scene were numerous discarded sticky round pieces applied to patients for tests to see if their hearts are working , some fag ends , old newspapers jammed into the seat , probably Golden Staph and mutating ebola. Not a good look outside a major hospital . Much is said about the need to combat the spread of germs inside hospitals, but you see, hear and experience things which clearly indicate there is room for improvement. In Queensland recently there have been deaths from diseases caught in hospitals. In the past, Little Darwin has reported on the unhealthy hospital setup in Darwin , which includes asbestos in public waiting areas . A patient recently told how , after nearly a week in hospital, a jolly nurse had told him he could probably go home in the arvo and " escape the hospital germs. " It seems just waiting for a bus outside the Townsville Hospital could lead to a bad case of athlete’s foot if you are wearing thongs or sandals. Should this writer have cause to visit hospital in the future , he intends to wear gumboots or propel himself on circus stilts.