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October 01, 2008

Aging Hospital Buildings

Thumbbjd498454fig11 A Canadian newspaper, the Globe and Mail,  released a news story on the infrastructure of aging, crumbling medical centers. They described several scenarios that sound all too familiar to us:

"Susan Hale's hospital bed in Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital's orthopedic wing is pushed against a corridor wall, squeezed between linen carts and orphaned equipment. Cleaning staff maneuver a wheeled garbage bin around Ms. Hale's IV pole. Visitors smile awkwardly as they pass, stepping sideway to avoid bumping the family members perched on the edge of her mattress.”

Sound familiar?

One of my best friends used to work in a large medical center in upstate NY, a Magnet-designated facility, and she told me that when their ER was too full, the staff would create patient rooms out of cleaning closets. Can you imagine being stuck in a closet for a 6-hour ER wait?

The gist of the Globe and Mail story was the increased outcome of deadly infections among patients within these crumbling walls. Almost all of the medical facilities within the immediate New York City area are aging. Paint peeling, mice scrambling, flies a-flying, tiles disintegrating, and garbage falling out of bins. Infections may very well be on the rise as we encounter more and more crumbing, aging infrastructures. Frightening, isn't it ?

Do you work in an old and disintegrating or over-crowded building? Have you noticed a rise in infections in your patients? If so, tell us about them.

October 1, 2008 in Beka | Permalink


Despite the possible financial situation for hospitals, I do not think that it is right to make patients endure through such conditions such as being stuck in a closet called "waiting area" for hours. Hospitals should follow rules and regulations that primarily were made to maintain patients' safety. Guildlines should be followed to prevent any further injury and/or infection.

Posted by: Thao Nguyen | Oct 17, 2008 1:07:00 PM

I have never personally worked in a old hospital building, but those conditions mentioned in the blog above are appauling. Patients should not have to endure conditions like these. The healthcare environment should protect people from hazardous conditions, not provoke more disease. If patients are continuosly admitted to facilities like these, the rate of infection will go up. These places need to be shut down until they are brought up to the correct standards.

Posted by: Alison Bautista | Oct 16, 2008 6:46:28 PM

i work in a very old structure. under developed ICU. no room for the new equipment. no room for the old equipment. beds that barely fit through doors. every room has a fan due to poor ventilation and outdated a/c. low ceilings, nurses that should have retired years ago. pixis machine for kleenex and alcohol pads. depressive and non motivated nursing and ancillary staff. infection guidelines not followed. yes, i believe infection rates will increase even more.

Posted by: eva | Oct 8, 2008 12:29:52 AM

I used to work at a hospital in California that needed some major building improvements. Since it is located in California they are required to rebuild it so it will meet specific earthquake standards. No hospital should be able to operate with the conditions mentioned above. This will only lead to more infections for the patients.

Posted by: Brian | Oct 6, 2008 2:28:01 PM

My hospital was 50 years old with much of the same stuff indicated above. Fortunately I live in California and the law requires hospitals to be rebuilt for earthquake safety. We opened our new hospital earlier this year- all private rooms with much more space and private bathrooms as well as a sleeping area for families. The downside is the distance one has to walk to get supplies and medications.
A recent time and motion study was published that says the average MS nurse walks 3-5 miles per shift!

Posted by: jar | Oct 1, 2008 7:34:45 PM

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