Florida Hospital Becomes First in State to Offer Vegan Menu to Patients

Florida hospitals, take note. One of your own is finally making the smartest nutritional change a hospital can make: It’s officially offering a plant-based menu to its patients.

You’d think that by 2018 all hospitals would be providing healthy, nourishing food to their recovering patients. After all, as Hippocrates once said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

What’s better nutrition for a heart attack victim or someone with a severe illness than fresh veggies, fruits, legumes and grains? Pretty much nothing.

Good Samaritan Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida, just became the first hospital in the state — and one of only a handful in the United States — to offer a 100 percent vegan meal option to patients.

Shockingly, most hospitals don’t have a plant-based menu option. Wander into any American hospital at lunchtime, and you’ll see an array of truly terrible choices. Patients are eating hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, macaroni and cheese, french fries, meat loaf, processed lunch meat, soda, sugary desserts and more.

Patients trying to recover from surgery or life-threatening illnesses deserve better.

We can thank one West Palm Beach doctor for pushing to make this change at Good Samaritan. One day Dr. David Dotson realized how utterly ridiculous it was to feed patients unhealthy meals.

“I was on rounds one day,” Dodson told West Palm Beach TV outlet WPTV, “and a patient of mine had been admitted to the hospital with a heart attack, and he had a stent. I happened to be rounding at noontime, and they were serving him a cheeseburger! And I said, ‘Wait a minute, something’s wrong here.’”

Indeed, something was very wrong. The lightbulb went off for Dotson, and he pushed for better patient meal options. There’s an undeniable link between what we eat and how healthy we are — and hospitals, of all places, ought to know this. Many simply haven’t acted to adjust patient food choices.

“I think eventually all hospitals will be doing this,” Dotson told WPTV, “but somebody has to start it, and I think Good Sam is the leader.”

In June 2017, the American Medical Association’s House of Delegates adopted a resolution calling on hospitals to provide plant-based meals to patients and staff. The resolution stated:

RESOLVED, That our American Medical Association hereby call on US hospitals to improve the health of patients, staff, and visitors by (1) providing a variety of healthful food, including plant-based meals and meals that are low in fat, sodium, and added sugars, (2) eliminating processed meats from menus, and (3) providing and promoting healthful beverages.

Slowly but surely, change is coming — and the key may be better contract negotiations between hospitals and meal providers.

If hospitals don’t insist on healthier patient meal choices, they won’t get them. It’s always cheaper to offer the Standard American Diet. Without contractual terms requiring a significant range of healthy plant-based meals, such options will never be routinely offered.

More and more physicians are speaking out about what patients ought to be eating. In particular, a number of cardiologists are eating 100 percent plant-based because they recognize the advantages.

Dr. Kim Williams, former president of the American College of Cardiology, is one great example. He went vegan in 2003 after seeing impressive results from one of his patients who had opted for a plant-based diet on her own volition. Her condition improved so greatly that he did the same thing.

Thank goodness more doctors are recognizing that the Standard American Diet is entirely unhealthy — especially for those recovering from illness. “Hospital food” has long been a running joke, but it shouldn’t be.

Now it’s time to take the next step: making the plant-based menu obligatory. Nutrition should be part of a patient’s prescribed treatment program. And our medical providers must lead the way.

TAKE ACTION!

Do you want your local hospital to adopt a plant-based patient menu too? Why not ask them straight out to do it? For that matter, why not start a petition here at Care2, demanding they do so? It’s easy, and you’d be making a real difference that could save lives.

Photo Credit: Kyler Boone/Unsplash

145 comments

Marie W
Marie W10 days ago

Thanks.

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Katie & Bill D
Katie & Bill D3 months ago

Good this is so simple to make!
Thank you

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John N
John N5 months ago

It's not just in hospitals that people would benefit from a plant-based diet, but also in prisons and schools.

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Megan S
Megan S5 months ago

healthy options to people suffering illness will also help them get better sooner (I know that not all vegan food is healthy but in general it is healthier than animal products)

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Megan S
Megan S5 months ago

making vegan options more convenient is one of the best ways to open people up to the idea

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Megan S
Megan S5 months ago

this makes me extremely happy

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Anna R
Past Member 5 months ago

Very good. Thanks.

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DAVID f
Dave f5 months ago

GREAT

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Paulo R
Paulo R5 months ago

wonderful

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aj E
aj E5 months ago

good news.

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