I am collecting examples of blunders by architects in designing hospitals and would be grateful for contributions from members of for-surgeons.com. Here are some of them:
1. xray department door too narrow for hospital bed, and brickwork had to be removed to widen.
2. X-ray department ceiling (in basement of hospital) made too low to accommodate machine.
3. Line of sight to paediatric beds in new ward obstructed by pillars. Infant caught between mattress and cot-side giving temporary brain damage.
4. Code blue emergency buttons placed low on wall because it was a paediatric ward. Code blue buttons quickly replaced at height for adults to avoid having them pressed by children.
5. New A & E department much roomier than the previous camped area. Too much roomier, with extra staff required because of the longer distances to walk.
6. Semi-circular desk for nurses' station, apparently designed to view several wards and corridors. Some beds too far, mostly obscured by walls and partitions.
7. Universal clock system installed. Now all the clocks are wrong, instead of just some of them.
8. Fancy horizontal wood panels to decorate windows. Look great from an outside view of the hospital. At just the right height to block the patient's view outside with the head on the pillow.
9. Hospital lighting, as usual, designed for sick horizontal patients by fit vertical architects. Controls need an arm with two elbows on it to switch on and off (like many motel rooms).
10. Entrance to lecture theatre only at the front, so all latecomers or those answering bleeps cut across between speaker and audience. Confusing or missing labels on controls.
I have only put in a selection so far. I've written a couple of papers on this subject with two main messages. The first is POE, or Post-Occupancy Evaluation, to learn from the mistakes last time. The second lesson is simple large-scale plans, 1:10, with cut-outs for the furniture and equipment and people, to check for access, clearance, and lines of sight. It doesn't check for noise or smell, but it has avoided a few big mistakes in a couple of hospitals which friends have been involved in.