They’re handy, those 130 signposted routes in Catharina Hospital. It’s big after all. Anyone following route 34 will find themselves in the waiting room of the Pulmonary Medicine outpatient clinic. Ample space, a fresh design, coffee that will delight the taste buds. A man reads a copy of the Nieuwe Revu and sighs. A women is doing a crossword. Betterment, eleven letters.
‘Improvement’, lung specialist Pascal Wielders would doubtless enter. Since 2000 he has been working in the hospital complex, which was built in 1973. He is pleased with the major renovation. ‘There’s been an improvement in terms of space, light and air. Which befits an ambitious hospital’, he says in his consultation room. ‘There was a patient here last week who said: “Wow, I don’t recognize the place any more! Fantastic foyer, a welcoming atmosphere.’
To be perfectly honest, Wielders held his breath when the plans were laid out on the table at the time. ‘I was critical initially. You can only spend the money once. But the old outpatient clinic was too small. The current rooms are nicer and more accessible.’
Thank you card
He sees around 20-25 patients a day. Several times a week he has to give people some extremely bad news. There’s a thank you card on his desk from a woman who is now a widow. Standing on the windowsill is a statuette of a doctor-in-bronze, a present from an artist in the final year of his life. Breaking bad news will always be tough, says Wielders. ‘You had little corridors in the old outpatient clinic areas. They offered a degree of shelter. Nice for doctor and patient. Now your consultation room opens straight out onto the large waiting room. Obviously that’s something we’d still like to change.’
Meander Medical CenterFuture proof hospital
He’s happy about the climate control, which is not unimportant for lung patients. The air is pleasant. The doctors and their staff can also set the temperature within certain ranges. Another bonus is the floors. We had carpet in the old outpatient clinic. That was a funfair for dust mites, but no fun for lung patients with an allergy. But did the long-term renovation work impede Wielders in the course of his duties? Sometimes, particularly the noise nuisance. ‘There were, of course, set times for drilling work, but now and then it was necessary to make a phone call. That helped’, he says in a subdued tone.