For Providers
Medical resident takes initiative to help community

How a Trenton medical resident used a bedpan story to improve at least 200 patient experiences a month

Everyone knows what bedpans are used for in hospitals.

However, Trenton OB-GYN residents Drs. Kate MacKillop and Tiffany Murphy previously had to use them in an unorthodox way to help patients.

When they saw patients in the Emergency Department, they didn’t have a dedicated OB-GYN bed with stirrups. So, they’d have to flip a bedpan over, cover it and use it to lift a patient’s pelvis for a speculum exam.

“It's so cumbersome, and it's super uncomfortable,” Dr. MacKillop said. “It was a pain in the butt and kind of embarrassing to do it every time.”

So, they decided to do something about it.

Dr. MacKillop wrote an essay to apply for, and ultimately received, more than $3,000 from Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine for a dedicated Trenton Emergency Department OB-GYN bed.

“They liked her idea and thought she wrote it up nicely, and it sounded like it would be a real service to the community to have something like that instead of an upside-down bedpan,” said Dr. Craig Glines, Trenton’s director of medical education.

Dr. MacKillop said Dr. Murphy was the “brainchild” while Dr. MacKillop was the one who wrote the persuasive essay. She included one of Dr. Murphy’s cases, where a patient was bleeding profusely and Dr. Murphy was on her knees, crouched on the ground, trying to examine the patient. It led to a lot of wasted money and discomfort for everyone involved, Dr. Murphy said.

Dr. MacKillop said this new designated OB-GYN Emergency Department bed will: 

  • Decrease the amount of operating room time
  • Increase patient experience and comfort
  • Increase provider diagnostic confidence and enhance visualization

Drs. MacKillop, Murphy and Glines estimated the new bed will impact at least 50 patients a week, about 200 a month.

The bed improves not only patient comfort, but patient dignity, the doctors said.

“It's something that will help the community and make our patients feel more comfortable,” Dr. Glines said.

And it’s something the hospital will be able to use for years, long after Dr. MacKillop’s residency ends, leaving behind a legacy of sorts.

“I hope we never have to go back to the bedpan,” Dr. MacKillop said. “That’s all I hope."

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