Here’s the Minneapolis Star Tribune headline: “Buffalo birthing center has the latest amenities.” An excerpt:
Starting in August, new mothers will have a chance to multi-task in style in Buffalo, Minn.
The local hospital is unveiling its new birth center, where every patient room will be equipped with an iPod docking station, a flat-screen TV and DVD player, a soaking tub, rocking chair and refrigerator — oh, and a place for the baby to sleep, too.
Buffalo Hospital has spent $7.1 million to turn its old labor and delivery unit into a state-of-the-art facility to appeal to a new generation of patients.
At maternity wards around the country, that increasingly means catering to patients and families as if they’re at “a luxury hotel,” as the Buffalo Hospital website puts it.
And some smart readers have reacted.
Bioethicist Steve Miles submitted this comment to the Strib online:
“It is so sweet that moms can start multitasking before they have a chance to leave the TV on during what used to be “family time” during dinner. –1 out of 13 persons in Wright County do not have health insurance. I hope that Buffalo hospital will step up and offer them means catering to patients and families as if they’re at catering at the level of “a luxury hotel” including iPod docking stations, a flat-screen TV and DVD player, a soaking tub, rocking chair and refrigerator — oh, and a place for the baby to sleep, too. –Oh silly me, the hospital website advises “Prior to receiving services at an Allina facility, we recommend that you verify coverage with your health insurance plan.” “
Gary Thaden, government affairs director for the Minnesota Mechanical Contractors Association — and a guy who knows a bit about healthcare since he’s trustee for a $50 million-a-year health plan — wrote:
“What if the Buffalo Hospital had spent $7.1 million on lowering their hospital inspections rate? How many fewer people would have been sick if the hospital had passed on the DVD player and original artwork? Why isn’t the StarTribune investigating the economic disincentive hospitals have to lower their infection rate?”
Bioethicist Carl Elliott wrote to me — short, not so sweet, but to the point:“
Oh man, that turns my stomach.”
*This blog post was originally published at Gary Schwitzer's HealthNewsReview Blog*