Written by Alyssa Clark
Hospitals are being demanded to provide more and more specialized treatment, whether it be replying to the demands of the everyday environment or specific market trends. Smog and pollution have become a hugely detrimental problem for people around the world in terms of environmental trends— and its time that the public healthcare system did something about it.
Whether it’s the smog-ridden skies of Los Angeles, California, or the overly-polluted lungs of Chinese citizens (and overall public health in China) this epidemic has forced public health officials to begin racking their brains to find ways to solve this unhealthy problem. This is not simply just an American or Chinese problem— as we have experienced the pollution epidemic in the United States, South America and parts of Europe as well, we have all experienced the need for ways to better-execute this problem and they should never be in short supply.
The Chinese are taking a first step towards achieving this initiative, by incorporating a smog clinic within their hospitals in order to specifically target pollution-related illnesses and symptoms. This newly implemented clinic at Chengdu No.7 People’s Hospital has already seen and treated over 100 patients since opening last week on December 9th— in less than 7 days, 100 people have already jumped at the opportunity of these resources, and that sends a serious message to public health officials.
Not only is this increasing traffic to the hospitals, reinstating faith in the public that the government is really looking out for the needs of the individual and building equity for the hospital, but this innovative development could call other hospitals to follow suit. Wang Qixun, a doctor at the clinic, said it was set up because the hospital had seen the number of smog-related patients surge in the last year.
With some of the most common symptoms of the pollution-based illnesses being as simple as coughs and sore throats, to even more progressive ones like asthma and heart disease, the need for this specialized type of treatment is at an all time high.Wang stated that these symptoms and illnesses are “triggered or worsened by smog,” Wang said.
Pan Xiaochuan, a professor at Peking University's School of Public Health, said he wasn't aware of any other smog clinics in China and suggested it may be a publicity stunt aimed at increasing the hospital's coffers."You can't really say a symptom such as a cough or sore throat is caused by PM2.5. Chances are the cold weather is the real cause," he said.
The success that this hospital has already seen from this type of innovation has not only inspired Chinese people to seek refuge in their public health resources, but it has opened the floodgates of competition for hospitals around the world to better-serve its public. What will this kind of environmental-specialized treatment do for the public? How will it benefit the hospital sector of the healthcare industry? Hopefully this stride towards providing better treatment for people in need is the first step towards improving the public health sector of healthcare, and other hospitals around the world will fall in line with this innovate idea.