VASHON ISLAND, WA – A growing number of Americans are attracted to natural and alternative remedies, whether it be Echinacea for colds, shark cartilage for chemotherapy, or giving birth squatting in a tranquil forest pond far from the prying eyes of physicians and neonatal resuscitation equipment.
With this subversion of the dominant, patriarchal medical paradigm it was only a matter of time before hospitals became pressured to liberate their surgical services in a similar manner.
Staff at one regional hospital have enthusiastically embraced the changes. Anesthesiologist Dr. Kelly Ripton describes her new methods:
“Instead of pumping highly artificial, processed chemicals like sevoflurane or propofol into my patients – excuse me, my clients – I instead have started distilling juniper berries and coriander seed in fresh, unfiltered mountain spring water. After three weeks and running it through some copper tubing, I have a clean, clear, natural anesthetic which works with the body’s pain receptors instead of antagonizing them. I soak an artisanal scrap of hand-loomed cotton cloth and gently stuff it into the patient’s mouth.”
“Once anesthetized, I place a stick made of finest mountain hickory, pre-grooved to match the patient’s incisor occlusion, into the oral cavity. I then tie straps of Argentinian gaucho-herded leather (made only from the happiest of cows) to each of the four extremities, and announce to the surgeon that the patient is ready.”
At this point, general surgeon Dr. Rodolfo Ramos springs into action.
“I nab some of that gin – I mean, natural anesthetic – and dip my scalpel into it for natural antisepsis. For the surgical pause, we stop to meditate upon the profound nature of this mystical work we do, and chant a few koans. No antibiotics! Our surgery is 100% antibiotic-free! After the incision, I reflect on the way the client’s thrashing helps make him into a meaningful co-participant and stakeholder rather than a passive vehicle of medical dominance.”
“I use sutures made only from the dried intestinal linings of grass-fed, free-range sheep. And to close, rather than staples, I have a special breed of ant whose jaws pinch the skin in place. The original dissolving stitches!”
At that point, PACU nurse Rhiannon Stines takes over. “I brew a fresh cup of willow bark tea, which is known to affect the production of prostaglandins and the COX pathway, and have the client wash it down with a handful of hand-encapsulated immune-boosting supplements. I also squirt some donated breastmilk onto the wound, as I know from reading online that breastmilk is magic fairy dust that cures all ills.”
Other surgical staff have changed their ways as well. Orthopedists have followed the arborist model, grafting fractured limbs to staves of yew. Neurosurgeons have rediscovered the traditional art of trephining (whether to release subdural hematomas or demons, the method is equally effective).
And of the public? “Our clients seem extremely pleased,” says hospital CFO Dr. Rohan Kumar. “Whereas in the past we’ve had a high 30-day readmission rate, at this point we’ve yet to have a single re-op, indicating extremely high customer satisfaction scores.”