Houston's Hermann Hospital may find itself the subject of a revealing Hollywood movie based on a book written last year by a New York Times reporter.
Robert Redford has bought an option to the screen rights to First, Do No Harm by Lisa Belkin. The 270-page book is a fascinating look at the machinations of Hermann's ethics committee. It details the stories of hospital executives, physicians and patients who interact in the process of making difficult and often emotion-filled decisions.
Ms. Belkin said last week that a script is being written for the movie and when that is finished, Mr. Redford will decide whether to buy the screen rights.
To write the book, Ms. Belkin was given nearly unprecedented access to the hospital between May and October 1988. She was issued a hospital identification badge and attended the ethics committee's meetings.
A prominent character in the book is the ethics committee's chairwoman, Lin Weeks, currently Hermann's vice president of operations. She has since dropped her ethics duties.
Healthcare illustrated.In a year in which the future of healthcare was the subject of an intense (and fruitless) debate, an exhibition reflecting healthcare's past shows just how far we already have come.
The exhibit of more than 50 framed photographs was culled from 100 collections-many of them owned by hospitals-in 10 countries by Aaron Schindler, owner and director of Photo Perspectives, a New York production company that curates and designs photographic exhibitions, books and educational programs.
The photos include a rare 1895 shot of Wilhelm Konrad Roentgen, who discovered the X-ray, in his laboratory; one of the first oxygen tents in use at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children, in 1910; Albert Schweitzer treating a patient at his hospital in Gabon, Africa, in 1954; and a visual rendering of the AIDS virus in 1991. One of the four sections of the exhibit is titled "The Hospital: Temple of Health and Learning."
The exhibit, "Medicine's Great Journey: One Hundred Years of Healing," is traveling to some 14 hospitals, medical conventions and museums through 1996. Medical centers are featuring the show in building dedications, hospital anniversaries and other special events.
In addition to the exhibit, there is a coffee-table book of the same title, published by Bulfinch and retailing for $50. Healthcare organizations interested in booking the exhibit can call 212-614-3083 for further information.
Therapy among the roses.An award-winning horticulture therapy program that matches communities' environmental projects with the needs of the disabled is flourishing as a result of a partnership among California Polytechnic University at Pomona; Casa Colina, a company that operates rehabilitation centers in California; and several California cities.
The university and the cities provide paid work for Casa Colina clients, work that improves the environment as well as clients' job skills.
Many of the clients-whose difficulties range from brain injuries to Down syndrome-would otherwise be "supervised every minute of the day, putting plastic forks into plastic bags. I take a crew of five at a time out into the community every workday," said Paul Alderson, Casa Colina's division manager for horticulture services.
"There's virtually a job for everyone in horticulture," he said. Even clients in wheelchairs can work at plant propagation, which involves putting small cuttings into pots.
Clients have worked on a 11/2-acre herb garden in Arcadia, at the state and Los Angeles County arboretums, and on a 12-acre drought-resistant garden and an experimental composting program at California Polytechnic. They've also done landscaping for various communities.
Most horticultural therapy programs are for a few hours a day. "Ours actually employs people," Mr. Alderson said.
With the experience gained in the program, clients move on to jobs at retail nurseries and elsewhere.
Koop dream.Are medical students ready for a new kind of training? So it would seem. At Dartmouth University's C. Everett Koop Institute, medical students find themselves outside the classroom on day one. Part of their training involves teaching preventive medicine to schoolchildren and their teachers.
"It's the most popular course at Dartmouth," said the former surgeon general, for whom the institute was named.
Dr. Koop was in Chicago earlier this month to pick up the Amicus Certus Award from Lutheran Social Services of Illinois, a Des Plaines, Ill.-based network of community, social and healthcare services.
After resigning as surgeon general in 1989, Dr. Koop undertook Dartmouth's project to reform medical education, although he noted it would be "easier to move a military cemetery."
Quotable."I'm in a hell of a growth industry."-Danny O. Coulson, new special agent in charge of the FBI office in Dallas, on the bureau's hiring spree of 500 agents nationwide. Many of the agents, he said, will be deployed to investigate healthcare fraud. Mr. Coulson was profiled in the Dallas Morning News last week.