Better Health: Smart Health Commentary Better Health (TM): smart health commentary

Article Comments

Dogs, Hospitals, And Unintended Consequences

Every day I go to the emergency room to admit my adults, I can hear the screaming babies and toddlers. Sometimes, the screams are actually from their parents after realizing  how much their visit is going to  cost.  But most of the time it’s really frightened kids in an unfamiliar environment.

Happy’s hospital used to hand out hospital stickers so kids would associate emergency rooms with a fun place to hang out.  It turns out, after  intense behind the scenes discussions with administration, that this policy was a covert attempt to increase the volume of our pediatric emergency room volumes.

After looking at the numbers, and understanding how hospitals get paid,I have now come on board and am part of a committee think tank that does nothing more than think of ways to get more people through the doors.   We invited the intelligence behind the 50% rise in pediatric ICU volumes after implementing the pediatric ICU art project.

We had hospital administrators from all over the country calling us to understand how such a successful program could be implemented at their hospital too.  At Happy’s hospital, we have some of the greatest minds that ever lived.
So it comes as no surprise, that a member of our committee found this dog coloring book at a greatly discounted volume price.  When you peak inside, there are hundreds of tracing of dogs, of all makes and sizes, just waiting to be colored in.

Happy:  What’s that book there?RN:  That’s the new dog coloring books we have for all the kids who come to the ER.Happy:  He’s a cute little fella.RN:   Not if you’re the kid in room seven that got half his head bit off by the family dog. Happy:  Don’t tell me we gave the kid a dog coloring book as a tool to distract him during his ER visitRN:  Well, yes.  We did.Happy: What happenedRN: The kid went catatonic on us.  So now we have a psych consult pending.  But we got the stitches in with no problem.  Happy:  I’m sure the ER doc is thrilledRN:  He is.  He told us to order another couple dozen coloring books and to have them handy when ever a dog bite comes in.

Sometimes the advantages of  unintended consequences just fall into your lap when you least expect it.

*This blog post was originally published at The Happy Hospitalist*


You may also like these posts

Read comments »


Comments are closed.

Return to article »

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

Read more »

How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

Read more »

See all interviews »

Latest Cartoon

See all cartoons »

Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

Read more »

The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

Read more »

Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

Read more »

See all book reviews »