Sunday, January 24, 2010

farmdoc's blog post number 644

Sometimes I come across a headline or title that’s so brilliant it makes me nod in wry admiration. Literally so. In last 16 December’s BMJ issue this article’s title: ‘Wards of the roses’. It reports on the upsides versus the real and imagined downsides of flower arrangements in hospital rooms. The BMJ’s website’s policy of allowing non-paying punters access to only the first 150 words, is circumvented by this piece offered gratis courtesy of the Guardian. The Guardian item's so well laid out and thus so easily assimilated that there’s no need for me to paraphrase or summarise it. Suffice it to say that the upside of flowers wins – because the downside factors don’t hold water. A linked editorial in the same BMJ issue has an equally captivating title: ‘Where have all the hospital flowers gone?’ Its first 150 words are here. In it, medical anthropologist Simon Cohn says that whilst hospitals’ technical efficiency and greater bureaucracy have elbowed flowers out of the way, gift giving’s important to patients and visitors alike, so flowers should be considered part of hospital care. That sounds reasonable to me, especially since the downside risks of flowers are imagined and not real. Me? I think fruit’s a better gift. But if flowers are your thing, the five bullet-pointed guidelines at the end of the Guardian article are sensible.

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