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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*

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