Every corner is a potential collision.
Hospitals are very busy places, and at time traffic in its corridors can be unpredictable. People are travelling at a variety of speeds and trajectories.
Throw beds and trolleys and running kids into the mix and things can get get pretty congested without warning.
Wheelchairs have a particularly nasty potential. Staff pushing empty wheelchairs sometimes travel at a fair clip. The footrests leading around any blind corner like splayed blades ready to trip, lacerate, or de-glove any oncoming elderly legs.
Most hospitals these days have mirror domes or wall mirrors mounted at dangerous intersections. Our own hospital has mirror domes mounted on the ceiling above just about every corner.
Even so, I have been witness to many collisions between people and beds and wheelchairs and even ride-on floor polishers. Most of these are minor bump-ups.
Clonk! “Oh, excuse me.”
But when the young and robust runs into the elderly and more frail, there is potential for more serious injury to occur.
People are distracted, they are in a hurry, they forget to look up and slow down.
I remember some time ago running fast to a Code, pushing a crash cart in front of me. I mean, I was really bolting down this long empty corridor.
Then…. I just missed a bent over old lady as she shuffled out into the corridor from the oncology ward.
I swerved hard and missed her by millimeters.
It would have been bad.
I never run to codes any more.
So. Get in the habit of using these mirror devises as you approach any corners. Check your speed. Don’t cut the corner.
But it’s not just blind corners that are a danger zone.
Talking to one of our workplace safety experts the other day, I was surprised when he told me that one of the biggest causes of workplace injuries at the moment is staff walking into objects, or over patients, or off clinical precipices because they are too busy checking their smartphones.
24 hours later and I was crossing the road in front of the hospital when I thought of something really witty to tweet.
iPhone out, concentrating on getting the spelling of the word ‘obnoxicated’ right, I walked right into one of the great big white metal pylons holding up the hospital.
From the resonant dong of skull against steel, I experienced both objects to be less solid than I had imagined.