Medicine: The Smiling Hospital

Entering Boston's Beth Israel Hospital for surgery, Carol Wein, 22, of Brookline, Mass., wondered at first if she had come to the wrong place. Instead of the usual sterile hospital lobby, she found a large, warmly decorated room with brightly colored window hangings and a garden of potted palms and dra-caenas off to the side. In the second-floor admissions area, she was interviewed, not at a crowded public desk but in a small, tastefully decorated private office. Corridors were carpeted and traditional hospital smells and white walls were conspicuously absent. After Wein settled into her stylishly furnished, pastel-colored private room ($180...

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