Essay — The Cutting Edge

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Last week, I visited a friend in the hospital. I hadn’t been in our local health care facility in quite awhile, but I’d read glowing reports about all sorts of avant-garde improvements taking place in health centers across the country–so I expected big changes.

Image source:
Image source:

However, as soon as I stepped inside I could see everything was the same. Three volunteers manned the front desk. The elevator still shivered and shook its way to the third floor. Two patients occupied each room. And lots of aides scurried about, poking and prodding.

This was definitely not the hospital of the future.

No robots glided along the halls reading vital signs without disrupting patients. Nor did I see any modernistic beds that automatically charted heart rates and breathing. Or staff wearing ultrasound ID tags.

When I asked my ailing friend if the remote control lying beside her adjusted the room temperature, turned on her reading light and allowed her to order meals any time she was hungry–she looked at me as if I was crazy.

Later, as I headed for the front door, I wondered out loud when the hospital was going to start making some innovative changes. A lady walking behind me said she thought it was wonderful that they were providing tram service.

Well, tram service might not be advanced technology, but since it was starting to rain it was cutting-edge enough for me.

At least until my health declines and I become a patient.


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