Where’s the Psychiatrist?

This week I have had the dubious pleasure of spending three days and nights in the hospital. I am convalescing as I write. Dubious, I say, because no one enjoys going to the hospital; pleasure, because the experience in one way was much better than I had anticipated.

Let me explain. Spartanburg Regional Hospital is a first-rate hospital system in a moderately-sized South Carolina city. It has become well-known enough for people from around the Southeast to travel to use its services. Superb physicians are coming to join its staff. It is also becoming well-known from its full page ads in world-class magazines. I suspect as the word gets out they will travel from much greater distances. And, as I became a part of things, I came to understand something of why I was located in a truly superior hospital complex.

Everything was efficiency itself! I was met at the door by “transportation services” with a wheelchair ready to receive me from the car. There was no waiting for admissions; I was taken immediately to my room. Less than fifteen minutes later I was in bed with a nurse inserting an IV into my arm. Personnel were prompt in responding to needs, and very informed, helpful and pleasant. And, so it went throughout the three days’ duration.

How has this come about? I think I know, in part, one major reason—Spartanburg Regional Hospital is a well-organized system. Looking at the map (below) you will see what I mean. Everything of importance is connected. You never have to go outside to get to any essential service. For example, I was swiftly wheeled in a bed from the woman’s tower, where I was located (no snickering—that’s where there was a room open at the time), through halls and elevators to the nuclear medicine department where I was given a test in which an isotope, inserted into my vein, searched for a hole (which it didn’t find). But it was the connections of various sections of the hospital that was so impressive.

However, as I looked at the six-page brochure I was given, I noticed something seemingly a bit out of kilter that immediately struck my eye. Before reading further, see if you can find it on the map included in the brochure.

Hospital Campus


As regular readers of this blog, I am sure that you did. Right! The psychiatry housing was disconnected from the system! And was a pipsqueak of a building by comparison to the rest. Here, I reasoned, was a department with no essential connection to the system. Unlike other departments, you’d have to leave the hospital grounds, cross a road and try to find the door to it! This phenomenon, struck me forcefully that this was the way it should be—the real stuff is done on the main hospital campus. Psychiatry was there in name—but not connected to it. It’d be hard to push a bed to or from it!

I’m sure in planning, those who so carefully laid out the system were not thinking anything of the sort, but the “coincidence” (all strictly providential) is probably one reason why SRH is such an outstanding institution. As good as the hospital layout is, since (as the map suggests to one with my frame of mind) psychiatry adds nothing to true medicine, I’d find it even better to omit that little building at the top right of the map. What do you think?


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