Having worked at a hospital, I can tell you—the food is pretty iffy. But to be fair it wasn’t all that dissimilar from other cafeteria fare I’ve encountered. It looked a lot like the grub brooding lunch ladies used to ice-cream-scoop onto my tray in high school—probably the same half-life too!
Now, I’m not the only one to call into question the biology of hospital food. UroStream
, the friendly urologist, was on call this weekend, meaning she was stranded at the hospital—and hungry!
What did she do? The real question is what did she encounter? I’ll let her explain:
The soup today was something called "Chef Special Gumbo". After stirring the pot, I'm convinced it's an amalgamation of all the leftover soups that were prepared during that week. I'm seeing some chicken, beef, rice, beans, tomatoes, okra and other unidentifiable veggie parts swimming in a brownish broth. The main entree, labeled "Chef Surprise" looks like meat in a heavy sauce. I think the surprise is in guessing what this mystery meat is. At least the fries are fresh, and you can't really mess up coffee and sodas.
I’m a little concerned, aren’t you? Amalgam soup and meat with heavy sauce? Poor UroStream
I point this out not only because it’s a funny story, but because the quality of hospital food never ceases to amaze me. The hospital, the place most people consider tabernacles of health—serving French fries, brownish broths, and mystery meat? I don’t get it. You’d think hospitals would be the strongest pushers of fruits and veggies.
Not so, at my old job I repeatedly saw coworkers flooding out of the cafeteria with lunch trays piled high with soft drinks, desserts, burgers, and just about every form of "al fredo" you can imagine. And to make matters worse, many of them were a little more than pleasantly plump!
To be honest, I don’t find stories like UroStream’s
so surprising anymore, with so much obesity news
out there it almost seems logical that hospitals would at least be partially responsible too. I guess in some respects they are just as guilty of working around obesity (that was a pun) than trying prevent it. Want an example?
Earlier this year the Associated Press
reported that some hospitals are buying larger more heavy duty equipment to accommodate the needs of obese patients
; items like bigger hospital beds and lifting contraptions. Like I said in April, more evidence of our band-aid approach to controlling obesity
Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis [is] finding better ways to deal with the growing number of very obese patients, an issue for many U.S. hospitals. Barnes-Jewish is replacing beds and wheelchairs with bigger models, widening doorways, buying larger CT scan machines, even replacing slippers and gowns.
Last year, patient care director Colleen Becker decided to check the numbers. She looked at a daily hospital census — about one-third of the 900 patients weighed 350 pounds or more.
And as for UroStream
, hopefully next time she ventures into the hospital cafeteria there will be at least a few desirable items for her to choose from—maybe some identifiable