Hospital life: When groups visit the hospital


As I was on my way out to get some food this afternoon, I saw a group of people. There were like hundreds of them walking along the corridor towards me. They appeared to be on an organised walk. What was interesting was the presence of the lady in front of the pack. She should have left them to go on their own because they simply ignored her!

There was a din. Lots of chitchat going on. Suddenly the corridor leading to the hospital restaurant was like a marketplace. The people seemed to be cooing at everything they came across as they walked past.

“oh this”… “oh that”….”wow this”… “wow that”!

Honestly, I could not understand why they all looked so surprised. It was a hospital after all and nothing was new. It had walls, interesting pictures, a lovely ambience, clean surroundings and so on. It really had nothing inconsistent with what you would expect from a hospital especially in England.

…Yet the babbling went on…

The lady moderator was speaking but it seemed like the more she tried to raise her voice, the less attention she got from them. As she screamed louder, it got worse. I found the whole idea of the walk around the hospital absolutely irritating.

You see, Great Ormond Street Hospital or GOSH was one of the creme de la creme in terms of paediatric medicine in the world. It was always a privilege in itself to walk along such a corridor where historical breakthroughs had been pouring since 1852 when it was established. It was a hospital whose main source of funding addition to other means of funding was made possible through charitable donations and thankfully so.

The well-meaning public through various methods contributed a great deal to the fund base at GOSH. This was why from time to time one could understand why the hospital opened its doors to members of the public.

It was however highly appalling to witness a near breakdown in decorum when one of such visits was allowed. I imagined that it must have been exciting day out for these people. However what they failed to bear in mind was that it was “a hospital” in the first instance.It was a place of treatment and recuperation.

It is therefore expected that the serenity, calm and tranquility of the hospital must be preserved and respected by all who walk through its doors. Although it is not likely that visitors will be given a tour of the main wards, they must be made aware that parents, carers and visitors to the hospital may find all the hullabaloo disturbing. They have to be more considerate about the feelings of these main hospital users who have to use the corridors alongside organised walks such as these.

Personally, as a parent, seeing the people behave in this way made me feel a bit vulnerable. It made me feel like the idea of patient-hood was being put on display and made a show of. I know it was not the intended purpose of the exercise but perhaps if the decorum and tranquillity of the hospital was not disturbed, the visits by these people would have yielded a more positive experience for hospital residents like me.

On a different day and at a different time, I am sure that many parents and carers like myself may have overlooked the noise. However, the feelings of parents and carers tend to be very erratic, varied and unpredictable. The hospital walls housed people who were being pushed to the limits of their psychological strength by the sickness of their children.These category of people unlike most have had to cope with all sorts of treatments, plans and news about their children. Many were very sleep deprived while others looked forward to the corridor walks as their only time of respite. While these seem like only a few minutes of break, for these parents, they were important even for their sanity.

At the end of the day, it was still sweet and appreciable to see people take time out of their own busy schedules to visit hospitals especially  paediatric ones like GOSH. This act of kindness must take into consideration the feelings of all users. This way the thoughtfulness of the well-meaning  members of the public would translate into a good experience for all concerned every time it is expressed.

So next time we visit places like hospitals, care homes, hospices and so on even for the sake of charity or any other reason, it may not be such a bad idea to follow the lead of the moderator, quiet down a little, step the excitement down a notch to allow our presence not disturb the peace of the place. This way the good we intend to do will count.

Thank you for reading.

If you enjoyed reading this, you may also enjoy some other topics we have discussed in this series.

Photo credit: Pixabay