A hospital is worried the US presidential race is going to kill its patients

A cartoonish campaign that’s no laughing matter.
A cartoonish campaign that’s no laughing matter.
Image: Reuters/Carlo Allegri
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The emotional roller coaster of scandals in the US presidential race is enough to cause a heartattack. But really.

A hospital in Long Island, New York, has banned patients from discussing Donald Trump versus Hillary Clinton while using its gym to avoid dangerous spikes in stress, the East Hampton Star reported.

Patients at Southampton Hospital’s cardiopulmonary rehabilitation gym are people who have had heart surgeries or who have been diagnosed with heart disease.

The gym has several television screens tuned into news channels, which can trigger political chatter. As the campaigning for the presidential election has grown more contentious, heated debates have ensued, including one incident on the treadmills, where a woman was caught in a back-and-forth between a Trump supporter and a Clinton voter.

Such incidents led gym management to post ”safety notices” barring politics from the gym floor on hot-pink paper.

It’s one more sign that the presidential election is having seriously disturbing effects on the American psyche. The American Psychological Association, the largest body of its kind in the US, found that 52% of the over 3,200 adults it surveyed were stressed out by the campaigning. Slightly more Republicans than Democrats reported feeling anxious because of the elections, the survey found. The APA went so far as to sanction some coping mechanisms to help ease the anxiety.

It seems the signage at the gym has worked. The safety notices have been up for a month, and talk of Trump versus Clinton has died down, gym management says. The signs will be taken down on Nov. 8, election day. Of course, chances are the deadly mix of vitriol and confusion won’t stop there, even after election results are in.