Pokemon Go players crowd hospital campuses, raising safety concerns

As "Pokemon Go" grows in popularity, hospitals across the country are pleading with gamers to not crowd their campuses in the name of hunting fictional characters.

 

"Pokemon Go", released July 6, is an augmented reality smartphone game that uses a phone's GPS system and camera to allow users to hunt for virtual Pokemon in the real world. Pokemon can appear anywhere on a map — a store, a private residence, even a hospital.

When the virtual Pokemon appear on the map, gamers can flock to that location. This has raised an issue for many hospitals, including Saginaw, Mich.-based Covenant HealthCare.

"While Covenant HealthCare believes it is great physical exercise for children to hunt for Pokemon, the hospital is not the place to do this," Larry Daly, a system spokesperson, said, according to MLive. "To ensure extraordinary care for our patients, Covenant prohibits entry into the hospital to hunt for Pokemon. Our security department and the local police have been alerted to this issue."

Covenant HealthCare isn't the only hospital taking action against "Pokemon Go" users. Utah Valley Hospital in Provo has noticed a flood of people in and around the hospital hunting for Pokemon.

"If there are extra people who are here for not a patient care reason, then that can cause problems," Janet Frank, the hospital's spokesperson, told the Daily Herald. The hospital has asked that gamers play the game without entering the hospital.

At Columbus, Ohio-based Nationwide Children's Hospital, Pokemon have reportedly appeared in secured hospital areas. Hospital administrators sent an email to staff asking for vigilance in this area, according to Destructoid.

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