Looking up

Large photographs of Playboy centerfold models smiled down on customers from the ceiling of a barbershop I patronized in Fort Lauderdale many years back. It might have provided a great view for this then-youthful newspaper reporter if I hadn’t needed to remove my glasses to submit to a shampoo. Everything turned blurry then.

My thoughts returned to those days last week as I lay on an table in a physician’s examining room, staring at a ceiling of large, square, oatmeal-colored acoustical tiles and fluorescent lights gleaming down on me from behind translucent plastic panels. The cold, bright lights, inescapable, seared my eyes.

I have been subjected to this view before, many times. Patients everywhere are required to stare at similarly bland views as they lie on gurneys and examining tables in medical care facilities, sometimes for extended periods. Why, I asked myself, has it not occurred to medical providers to improve the view and soften the glare of the lights? No, I’m certainly not suggesting photos of unclothed models, but why not begin with a little color to relieve the monotony?

And ease up on those unrelenting fluorescent lights. Of course, the medical provider needs plenty of good light to do her or his work, but please, can’t we dim those lights while the patient lies there waiting? Must they be the cold, harsh, industrial variety? A little imagination could come up with a better way.

Wise retailers and service providers in the world of commerce have learned the value of making choices based on the needs and point of view of the client, customer or patient. Everyone wins with this approach.

Our lives are made better by our access to excellent medical care in the area where we live. We are grateful for that, but here’s a suggestion: How would it be if every medical provider be required to lie on their own examining table for at least 30 minutes, staring at the ceiling with the lights on? Maybe that would lead to some positive changes.




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