07 October 2010

Beyond the Coke machine

Hospital services are improving. This was my initial reaction to an emergency room that I saw in Tokyo. The newly-renovated hospital included some thoughtful meetings about patients' needs beyond medical attention. Just outside the ER waiting room, of quiet music and multiple television screens, were vending machines not only of the usual Japanese selection of Pocari Sweat, green tea and energy-infused waters, but also those selling the basic necessities that we often forget about when we're overwhelmed with why we're there in the first place. You might ask, what basic necessities could there be? Try cotton T-shirts, underwear, tank-tops and robes. Imagine if Hanes sponsored a machine in every hospital across the United States with simple-cost items for patients admitted to stay overnight. I'd bet that one would already start to feel better in having a fresh T-shirt to change into even within the first hour of waiting.

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