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Designing MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute a matter of important detail for transplant surgeo

Tina Reed Staff Reporter- Washington Business Journal

Cherry blossom window decorations in the new MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute clinic — meant to be a focal point of a window behind the clinic’s new reception desk — had been attached to the wrong side of that window. And the mistake was bugging Dr. Thomas Fishbein.

It was a minor detail. But for years, the director of the transplant institute heard about little ways transplant patients were inconvenienced at his and other hospitals around the U.S. And he was determined to make the new department work smarter for patients, he said.

They needed to get every piece right, even down to the aesthetics. Fishbein said he wants transplant patients to feel like they are being taken care of no matter where they are in the department.

“When you get an organ transplant, it’s almost always from chronic disease and they have deteriorated slowly and come close to dying,” Fishbein said. “Then, within a week, you see this transformation, a drastic change. It’s like a rebirth.”

That lobby was designed to signify that rebirth, he said. The tiles on the walls and floors are a gleaming and modern white tile, a jarring difference from the historical hallways of MedStar Georgetown where Jackie Kennedy gave birth to John F. Kennedy Jr.

Natural light streams in the patient treatment rooms rather than the work stations to be occupied by their teams of treatment providers. Workers hung TV’s to be framed by waterfall features in the adult lobby. The screens, Fishbein insists, will never broadcast stressful 24-hour news channels reporting on the latest disasters, but be used to display health information.

Children will have their play area with a glass wall to allow parents a moment of quiet just outside. It’s supposed to be relaxing. “What is the word for it? It’s supposed to feel like an almost spa-like experience,” Fishbein said.

It sounds strange to hear a transplant surgeon focused on such details as the lobby of the institute. But those little details, Fishbein said, matter.

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