Could hospitals go both cleaner and greener?

Doctors between sterile and green strategies for healing
Doctors discuss how to make hospitals and people heal better

Modern hospitals find themselves on what at first look like a dividing road, but could it be something much better:
Could it be that modern medicine has come so far that it is ready to embrace sustainable living and help us all get in balance with the environment?

It makes so much sense because medicine should be all about making us more sustainable, more alive, more in balance, more healthy.

30 years ago zoo’s looked like hospitals with easy cleanable, sterile surfaces, glass and separate compartments where the animals were kept in small boxes to minimize the unpredictable consequences of letting them interact with plants, soil, each other or getting exposed to the visitors.  Zoo’s have come a long way since then, and today the best Zoo’s let the animals get as close as possible to their natural environment, feel natural light, sleep in their natural places and be close to plants, soil and fresh air.

Hospitals have come a long way too in the last 30 years, but more often than not in a different direction. One where the patients are hurried on through a huge sterile machine, optimized for mechanical and medical flow.

But lately there are more and more signs that new hospitals starts to take a different direction, where they more often work to combine the newest technology to integrate nature’s ability to heal, and use plants and animals to create a calming, soothing and pain-relieving atmosphere with well-being, exercise and nature as essential building stones.

And the doctors have a unique position here, not only to help their own patients heal, but to direct the rest of the world in new more healing directions by combining their classic knowledge of how to help us avoid what makes us sick, with new environmental knowledge of what makes us heal.

Drawing and text by Frits Ahlefeldt

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