Hospital Fears

the hospital scares me cover

The Hospital Scares Me
Hogan and Hogan

In 1980, this would have been a decent choice for a picture book collection. Our protagonist, Dan, falls off the monkey bars and breaks an ankle. It is bad enough to require surgery and a hospital stay. The purpose is to explain to kids what happens in the hospital from check-in, x-rays, surgery, etc. We even have characters in the book who aren’t white! Dan gets around on crutches and heals up nicely. Cue the music.

With a 1980 publication date, I would imagine that many things are different. Right off the bat the nurse on the cover is wearing a cap that hasn’t been a part of a nurse uniform in decades. In fact, most of the uniforms and equipment look dated. They could also add a scene where Dan’s parents have a heart attack because their insurance won’t even make a dent in their bill from the hospital.


broken ankle for Dan

shot for pain



  1. We could make a new version for middle-aged white males called “Socialized Medicine Scares Me!”

    Probably have to use less text and more pictures, though.

  2. I had a leg operated on in 1980, and none of the nurses wore those hats, nor did the stuff in the operating room look like leftovers from the 50s. There wasn’t a children’s floor of the hospital, either.

    (I don’t know how much it cost, but Dad had really good insurance.)

    1. Interestingly, our local teaching hospital added a children’s emergency room a couple of years ago. They already had a separate children’s wing. The idea was that lots of traumatic stuff comes through the regular emergency room. (Literally. It is a trauma center.) so it is more therapeutic to give kids a separate emergency room.

    2. I was briefly hospitalized in 1986, and the night nurse did wear a cap like that. It had something to do with where she had trained, and she was quite proud of it.

  3. when my mom graduated from nursing school she was so proud she starched and pressed her caps and swore she would always wear them. that lasted about two weeks. too much trouble wrangling patients and IV’s knocking it off.

  4. I had to get a tubes put in my ears I don’t know how many times when I was really young and I think I still remember when nurses really did dress like that. I’m so old.

    I wonder if this book mentions PONV when Dan wakes up from his surgery. That traumatized me more than anything else. Needles? Pain? Whatever. Nausea? Throwing up? NOPE!!

  5. This – I hope – was a really good book in its original printing (which I think was before 1980). I hope there is a current selection of books/media on this subject.

  6. Right, in every hospital I’ve ever been in I’ve never seen nurses in dresses with caps (btw Omniviewer is right, nurse caps did indicate at what school or hospital they trained) or IV fluids in glass bottles (they use single-use plastic bags. I do remember that when toy catalogs had a page of playwear, the nurse costume always had the little cap and a navy- blue cape; IRL when I had a visiting nurse treating a wound, I asked her about that, and she said no, visiting nurses don’t wear anything besides a badge that would make them readily identifiable AS nurses, lest someone break into their car in search of drugs

  7. And to put you under, they give you a shot of knock- out stuff + muscle relaxant: I never had an inhaled anesthetic, unless it’s in the tube they put down your throat to keep your airway open. That generation may have died off, but I remember people asking if they’d cut up or cuss as the anesthetic wore off

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