What's the deal with hospital stickers these days? I found this sticker with a picture of a robot laying around in the emergency department the other day. Should we be encouraging children to come to the hospital emergency room and feel happy and excited about the sticker they got? I'm not sure slapping a smiling robot sticker on to a kid to announce their exciting visit to the emergency is the best public health policy. We should not be making the ER a place kids want to come back to. It should be a place of fear and anxiety so they grow up into adults who make wise decisions that keep them out of the ER. With Medicaid expanding by leaps and bounds, fear of going to the ER is the only thing we have left to keep people from abusing hospital systems as their primary point of care. Think of it as a Head Start program for ER avoidance training.
We need to take a different course of action before another entire generation of citizens feels entitled to use the emergency department as their sole source of medical care. Instead of cute cartoonish hospital stickers, children in the hospital ER should all get a saline injection in their shoulder. Now that's the kind of memory you want kids to have from their emergency room visit. They should fear the hospital and do everything in their power to stay healthy as adults. That's how we solve the obesity crisis and tobacco addiction in this country. We don't want kids to feel giddy about the cute sticker they got from their doctor or nurse. It will only give them warm fuzzies when they return as adults.
Who's with me? Should we be making children excited about getting their cute cartoon sticker in the ER or should be inflict pain and suffering on their psyche to encourage them not to return? Either way, I'm pretty confident our little Zachary would choose the cute robot sticker. Or ten of them.