We all know the dangers caused by the over-use of antibiotics, and the resistance to them which encourages the spread of disease. There is an article in today’s Observer newspaper which epitomizes for me how far our modern treatment of illness has divorced us from the natural world. It starts with the strong statement: “Wards in British hospitals need to be redesigned to provide defences against the spread of deadly, antibiotic-resistant superbugs. That is the stark warning of scientists, who said last week that the danger now posed by drug-resistant infections had reached crisis level.”
So what are the proposals these same scientists put forward
to help our hospitals do this? Among
these, believe it or not, is one that hospital wards should have “large,
openable windows”. …”We are talking
about returning hospital wards to the type we had 100 years ago.”….
This sent me back to look at a chapter in my book Keepers of the Soul in which I discuss
what I call “the medicalized society” we now live in. And I wrote, with rare prescience,.”…we show
as little regard for the environment in which all these terrifying interventions
take place, the frightening machines, the lack of natural air, even the ban on
plants and flowers in the hospital wards of the most sick, as if such harmless,
natural and beautiful things bring with them a greater chance of disease than
dealing with the high incidence of hospital-induced infections.”
Let us hope that the design of new hospitals will now
include windows which open to allow nature inside to help patients’ lungs
breathe and bugs to escape.