Redesigning Medicine with Emergency Physician Dr. Bon Ku

KKH Trailer Wide


Will: [00:00:00] Knock,

knock, knock. Hi.

Hello and welcome to Knock-Knock. Hi, with the Glock Flecks. I am Dr. Glock Flecking. I am Lady Glock Flecking, and we are excited to have you with us today. Uh, we have a, a, a guest today that Kristen has. I’ve been waiting in week. She just can’t wait. Kristen, love you, love. Uh, order. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. And design you do.

And just everything in its place and everything needs to make sense and, uh, and be beautiful, which is how I don’t understand how you ended up with me. Yeah. Because I’m kind 

Kristin: of the opposite. I’ve refined my taste. I am over the years. So you got in Well, the Getten 

Will: was good. I guess. I, I guess so. I, I’m, I am a fan of chaos.

Yeah. Uh, in all aspects of my life, and that’s why I need Kristen to help, uh, [00:01:00] control that. But before we get to our guest, um, let’s talk about our trip. Yeah. We just got back, we just got back last week. Yep. From Australia. We, we did it. We did it with our kids. Mm-hmm. And it was a long flight. It was a very, from the West coast.

Uh, it was the longest, uh, flight we’ve taken with them. 

Kristin: And it was the longest flight I think we’ve taken, period. 

Will: It is, yeah. My longest flight for sure. Years too. And we, what did we do to help? Well, what did we, what did we do for the kids? 

Kristin: Well, okay, so first of all, 

Will: we, we drugged our children. Everyone, 

Kristin: we drug them.

It was recommended by their pediatrician. And 

Will: pediatrician. Recommended drugging of children. That’s what we 

Kristin: did. You’re gonna start something, you’re opening a whole can of worms. It worked. It 

Will: was all, it was a little bit of Benadryl. Yeah. And, uh, some melt, just a little. Melatonin. Melatonin, little 

Kristin: melatonin, a little Benadryl, Benadryl.

[00:02:00] And it was all under the supervision of their pediatrician and their father for whatever good that will do. It 


Will: like a, like a charm. Uh, it was, it was great. The, uh, the way there was better. They, they slept, um, and were relatively refreshing. It really. 

Kristin: But I also drugged myself. I took some Unisom. Me and our younger daughter, we both are pretty responsive.

Yeah. So we both got some pretty decent sleep on the flight. You and our older daughter, I don’t know. It just doesn’t, I can’t do much for 

Will: you. I’m too big. I can’t, I can’t like, 

Kristin: no. But even, even our, our 11 year old, she, you know, she got like a couple of hours and that was it. Then she just 

Will: woke up. Anyway, we survived the travel and then once we got there without wifi, no less, oh, that’s the other thing.

So we were on Delta flight and it was a brand new plane and for some reason it was not equipped with wifi, which, um, I don’t understand that. I, I was, we were furious that we couldn’t access a wifi network 30,000 feet in the air. How [00:03:00] dare 

Kristin: they flying across 

Will: the Pacific Ocean. How dare they deprive us of our social media accounts.

It was, um, it was a disaster, 

Kristin: but I was more concerned about for the kids, everything we brought for the kids involved some wifi. You made 

Will: me read a book Delta. 

Kristin: How dare you. But they did return this stuffy 

Will: that they did that our daughter, I do have to, I got Delta a big round of applause because our daughter, when we got off the plane in Sydney, our eight-year-old left her stuffed animal.

Like under the seat. She just left it there. And then I got an email from the flight attendant said, Hey, I, I was able to track. Fortunately I’m easy to find on the internet. Mm. I have mixed 

Kristin: feelings about that, but, okay. 

Will: So she, uh, got, got in touch with me through our website and email address on the website and mailed, mailed it back.


Kristin: stuff from like Tokyo. Right. She had gone on. 

Will: She, she had bag. She couldn’t, she, she was like traveling all over the place, obviously, but she’s mailed it by the time she got back. But still to, to take that, I know step to do that. Above [00:04:00] and beyond. Shout out to Lily. To Lily from Delta. And then once we got there, one thing that um, I know we had talked about on our previous episode is how nervous you were about the spiders.


Kristin: yes. Cuz all you hear about Australia over here. Well, a few things, but one of which is all the deadly and poisonous, you know, spiders and snakes. No, we 

Will: were going into like the outback, like no, we were in the city. We were not wrapping it, uh, by any stretch of the imagination. Uh, and we, so we saw a couple big spiderwebs, couple things.

But what I want you to explain the, the time that we almost like missed our reservation to, I forgot what it was because you couldn’t find your shoes. 

Dr. Bon Ku: Yeah, 

Kristin: I lost my shoes. Uh, that’s 

Will: because tell them why you lost your shoes. 

Kristin: That’s because. Uh, I am, as you said, very orderly and organ organized. Couldn’t even get that out because this was a fail.

Um, I [00:05:00] was, so sometimes this happens where I’m so organized and I think ahead so far that then I can’t remember by the time I get to the moment in time that I was preparing for, I can’t remember what I’ve, where I’ve put the thing, you know, like when you put something in a really safe place so that it doesn’t get lost and it’s so safe that even you can’t find it.

Mm-hmm. That’s what I did, because I didn’t want my shoes to get spiders in them. I didn’t 

Will: keep in mind we were, we were on like the, the 22nd floor of a hotel. Yeah. And you were still 

Kristin: worried. I mean, I’m worried even here. So Yes. You take me to Australia, I’m gonna be on high alert for spiders. So I put my shoes in a, in a, like a zippered pocket of your.

Giant duffle bag and 

Will: another closet and it just like, it’s 

Kristin: like layers, many barriers for something to get into. Yeah. So I couldn’t find it. And then the thing that made me remember where I had put it is you said, You probably hid them [00:06:00] from the spiders. And I was like, oh yeah, I did. And that immediately reminded me of where they were.


Will: I know you’ve, I know you quite well. I’ve seen this happen folks, this like time and time again, you hide things from yourself thinking, uh, under the guise of organization. 

Kristin: I don’t hide them from myself. Yeah. Well, you do. 

Will: I mean, I mean, that’s the end result. That’s the end result. That’s what you’re doing.

You’re, that’s not the intention. Uh, we, we 

Dr. Bon Ku: have a, 

Kristin: we found them. Don’t worry. Didn’t 

Dr. Bon Ku: find them. It, we had a wonderful 

Will: trip. We made it, we, we caught our ferry or whatever it was that we were trying to catch. Yeah. And, uh, had a wonderful time. Yeah. And it took 

Kristin: us highly recommend. Yes. Oh, what going to Australia if you ever get the chance.


Will: people. Uh, we did. Nobody got sunburned. It was a success all the way around. Yes. All right. Well, let’s get to our guest. Enough about our travels. All right. Um, so we have Dr. Bonk Bonk is a, the director of the health design lab at Thomas Jefferson University and an emergency physician. And we are so excited.

This was a [00:07:00] fascinating conversation. 

Kristin: Yes. He talks all about healthcare design and why, uh, people in medicine should care about design. Yeah. And, and how it can 

Will: help. That’s great. So let’s get to it. Here is Dr. Bonk.

All right. We are here with Dr. Bonk. Uh, thank you so much for joining us. Uh, I, I know Kristen in particular. Mm-hmm. Uh, she introduced me to you. Very excited, and she’s very excited, uh, for us to talk with you this morning. 


Dr. Bon Ku: way more excited. This is gonna be my claim to fame because you’re, you all are famous in the emergency medicine world.

Oh, oh, 

Kristin: but for much more ridiculous reasons than you. So, yeah, 

Will: I mean, do you, do you actually ride a bike and, and I, I 

Dr. Bon Ku: do. I, I, I’m a big mountain biker infer, so all these memes that, that you have, I, 

Kristin: and he’s drinking a diet Coke. Did you see that? Oh, 

Will: yeah. I did not see that. Oh, there you go. I, I love it when my [00:08:00] stereotype fits perfectly with 

Dr. Bon Ku: a specialty.

100% fit the mold busting. It’s 

Will: embarrassing. In fact, one, one time I was at a, a, a conference totally unrelated to emergency medicine, and, uh, I just ran into an emergency physician while I was there, uh, who was on his way to go kite surfing. And it was just, uh, just classic emergency medicine. Doctor, what, what are the things that you do that are, uh, would be considered dangerous to anybody?

Any, any normal individual? Well, 

Dr. Bon Ku: sometimes after I work a night shift, I’ve been up all night. I get into my car that already has my surfboard in it, and I drive an hour to the beach to go surfing. And then sometimes I’m so tired, I just pull off on the side of the road at a random rest stop and sleep in my car for like 20 minutes and then like I surf all day.

So you’re, yeah. So 

Kristin: you’re, you’d rather surf than sleep after. Yes. A shift. 

Will: Exactly. Well, it’s always, you’re, you’re, you’re like up [00:09:00] all night working very hard and then decide to go out into the ocean. Yeah. Uh, or get in a car and drive it. Yeah. I mean, there’s several, there’s several things there that, 

Dr. Bon Ku: that I, I would not recommend it.

It’s, but I, I gotta get my surf in. How often are 

Will: you doing night shifts? I 

Dr. Bon Ku: do a couple of night shifts a week. Okay. And see this is not infrequent. Yeah, no, no. It’s very, very frequently. But I have a system set up. I’ve been doing it since residency. Okay. I used to like, uh, surf, um, in New York City of all places, uh, really In Queens.

Yeah. So I used to, and back then it was like 12 hour night shifts. I only work eight hours now, so that’s not a big deal. I would 

Kristin: Surfing in the Hudson River or what 

Dr. Bon Ku: Far Rockaway Queens is actually a big surfing community in New York City. Out of all places you actually take a subway to surf. Oh, interesting.

Will: You gotta get 

Kristin: your board on the little subway train. And 

Dr. Bon Ku: I had a car, so they made a little bit more convenient. 

Will: And, [00:10:00] and so I, I gotta ask, how, how does someone. I’m always fascinated by origin stories and how people get into the things that they’re involved in. And so for you, you know, obviously you know, as an emergency physician you started, uh, seeing that there, this, this health design, uh, we’re gonna be talking a lot about this and so I would, I’d number one wanna know like, how on earth did you get into this type of work?

But also like, what is it exactly help our listeners Yeah. Understand this? 

Dr. Bon Ku: Well, one is I’ve always wanted to apply creativity in medicine, but was really frustrating cuz there was no avenue to be able to do that. And I feel like creativity is a skill that can be taught and creativity is important even in a quote, non-creative field like medicine.

Cuz you know, I think creativity helps us to solve complex problems. And I had this opportunity in, um, the medical school where I’m at in Philadelphia to teach. [00:11:00] Design to medical students, a human-centered design or design thinking. And that was a way for us to tap into our creativity as medical students, as physicians, and to put on a mindset of thinking like a designer, to be able to apply the principles and methods of, of design to healthcare.

So it’s not just about when people think about design, they think, well, you’re just kind of making the aesthetics of a product or an object better. But it’s a lot more than that. It’s really applying empathy, applying skills of prototyping, of really being able to tap into our innate creativity as humans and but in the healthcare space.

Kristin: Sorry. Um, so two questions. One, you know, why. Do that. Why is that important? And two, how does design thinking [00:12:00] differ from scientific thinking that maybe most people in medicine, or at least the stereotype of medicine, might be more familiar with. 

Dr. Bon Ku: Yeah, yeah. There gr great question. I, I get this a lot and, and I feel like, you know, I’m not saying do abandon the scientific method.

You know, I, I’m a researcher, I have a lab and I, but I feel like we could blend the scientific mindset with a creative mindset. And, you know, many of the problems in healthcare aren’t black and white solutions, right? There’s a lot of ambiguity in the healthcare space. You know, there’s multiple drugs or treatments we, we could give for, um, a specific disease.

And a lot of times there’s not a clear cut answer to that. Sometimes there is. Right. If you have a tumor that needs to be excised, yeah, that needs to go away. But so many of the problems are ambiguous, and I think design can help us get to a better [00:13:00] solution by, by helping us embrace that, uh, ambiguity. Hmm.


Kristin: is very cool. What, what do you think that the. The biggest barriers to good design in the healthcare system are right now. Why? Why? Because to me it seems like it’s, you know, horri horribly designed. Yeah. As an end user, right. I’m not, um, a participant in, um, creating any medicine, um, or providing any medicine.

But I do, you know, show up and go to the doctor. You 

Dr. Bon Ku: saved his life right there. Oh my 

Will: gosh. Actually a little. You got a little bit of that. 

Kristin: Well, not in any licensed capacity, let’s put it that way. Um, but I’ve seen some pretty, pretty bad examples. Like, um, you know, when I did CPR on him and I came to the, um, hospital, it was at like the height of the Covid pandemic.

And so I wasn’t allowed in, except as an end of life case. So ultimately I did get to come in. Um, [00:14:00] but they, but I didn’t get to see him. I didn’t get to be with him. And where they put me was this little exam like, Not exam room, a waiting area for, um, patients. After they would gown up, they would be waiting for scans and it was in radiology.

And when I go around speaking, I always like to ask doctors if they know why that’s a problem and they never, they never think of why that’s a problem. So I’m curious if you might know from a design perspective, 

Dr. Bon Ku: I think design excels at making experiences. Beautiful. And most of our experience in healthcare aren’t beautiful.

They’re these crummy experiences of Yeah, I’ve had the worst day of my life. And then mm-hmm. They put you into the worst place. It look in the hospital, it looks like, you know, you’re at the, um, DMV getting your driver’s license. It’s just like the, just the terrible experience. And we don’t think about the end user.

We don’t think about how we might design a better experience for patients, family members, [00:15:00] uh, caregivers. Yeah. Uh, like, and there’s a 

Kristin: functional component too. Of the design? 

Dr. Bon Ku: What do you mean the, a functional component? Well, 

Kristin: in radiology, the walls are aligned with lead. Mm, yeah. Yeah. So I’m in there all alone, isolated, and then they just cut off my cell phone signal.

Oh. So they cut me off from the outside world all for just, you know, bad design, bad forethought, whatever. Yeah. Um, so yeah. So I’m curious, you know, that’s definitely 

Will: pandemic. We’re really kind of flying by the seat of our 

Kristin: pants. Yeah. I like to think it was that. Who knows? Um, 

Dr. Bon Ku: maybe a little bit of both things haven’t changed since the pandemic i, in our experiences in hospitals and clinics.


Kristin: Yeah. True. Yeah. So anyway, that was just, that was an example, um, that I’ve seen in my own life. So I’m curious why is it that way? What are the barriers to making things better? 

Dr. Bon Ku: I feel like as in, in healthcare, we don’t [00:16:00] appreciate the value of design. I think. So much of what we do in healthcare, you know, we’re putting out fires, uh, all, all the time.

Mm-hmm. And, and in, in design we have, there’s a saying of a form follows function. You know, the chairs that we’re sitting on, they look that way because they’re supposed to hold us up in, in the air when we sit, so we don’t fall down. And my buddy Brendan Carr, who’s emergency physician, says in healthcare form, follows finance.

Yeah. And the incentives are so perverse in, in healthcare and because of the way that our system has been intentionally designed leads to poor experiences. So you can think about, you know, the financing of healthcare, the way we pay for healthcare, um, really impact these policies, impact our experience as patients, providers, and clinicians.[00:17:00] 

Will: So there’s two things we can do. Then we can. Going forward, we can have more of a form follows function type of thing. But then how do we, I guess we can. We gotta figure out a way to fix the, the problems though that are already in place. 

Kristin: Yeah. You can’t just, you know, completely eliminate the finance piece of it, but how do we add in maybe a third component?

Yeah, yeah. 

Dr. Bon Ku: I mean, but you know, when we think of the financing of healthcare, that was someone design the financing of it, you know, decades of ago that Yeah. Are, uh, the way we pay for healthcare is through insurance. Through who, who was that guy? I just wanna talk to him. I think it was like in Texas, maybe.

Of course it was 

Will: ago. Okay. Go back in time and, you know, do a couple things and how, just a stern conversation, a stern talking to person, stern to, 

Dr. Bon Ku: and in other countries, they haven’t designed it that way. Right. And just because we experienced this, have experienced this for decades, we don’t realize Yeah.

At [00:18:00] some point, somewhere, some body, some entity, some, uh mm-hmm. Uh, policy was created. And we have a system that was perfectly designed to give us our experience of it right now. Right, 

Will: right. Perfectly designed to, to make us all miserable, uh, to sell and, and financially devastate people. That’s that’s a So, so you are going back, you, you’re a med student and, and you, that’s when you started getting into this idea of design and, and wanting to combine creativity.

Dr. Bon Ku: No, I, you gave me way too much credit. Oh, it was, it was later. Yeah. Mu much later. But I, I have always been, I, I was fascinated about design, but didn’t really know what it was. I never formally studied, uh, design. I was a classical studies major in college, so I’m this weird guy who studied ancient Greek and Latin.

Nice. And uh, like I actually didn’t want to [00:19:00] go to med school at, at one point cuz I, um, what were you gonna do instead? I, I don’t know. Some, that’s probably why I went to medical school. 

Kristin: You already knew all the words, so you were one step ahead of everybody 

Dr. Bon Ku: else. That’s true. True. My parents would disown me.

They’re, they’re from immigrants from South Korea and they say, Hey, we came to this country so you could go to an Ivy League school and become a doctor. Literally. So I’ve been brainwashed, so there you go. It would’ve been cause chaos in the, in our universe if, if I had not followed a path of medicine.

Gotcha. And. Yeah. So I’ve always been, you know, I geeked out about the design, like industrial design, the design of products, of how architects design buildings, and have always been kind of fascinated by this process. And I think, and I thought, you know, why don’t we do this in healthcare? Because I believe that design can bridge technology and patience.

Like we have the [00:20:00] technology, but there’s so many times there’s this mismatch where we feel like something’s missing there. Right. And, and I, I think the bar is so low for us and the healthcare both from the clinician side, uh, and the patient side for us to make these experiences that we have beautiful, to bring humanity into our experiences.

And, and what you have said about the pandemic of. Of separating patients from their loved ones should never, ever happen again. That was the most, mm-hmm. That was the hardest thing I think I’ve experienced as, as a, as a physician in, in, in my career. It was, it was inhumane. Yeah. And if my loved one, you know, if my wife or my mom ended up in the hospital and was dying, I mean, you would have to get the security and police from me not going into that room.

Like I would literally barge in. I was like, I don’t care if I get covid. Uh, I don’t care if you arrest me. You are not going to separate me from my loved one. Yeah. 

Kristin: [00:21:00] Yeah. It was, um, it was rough. And there are a lot of people out there in that situation that are, they’re not dealing with the aftermath of being separated in these 

Dr. Bon Ku: horrible circumstances.

Oh. So, so many stories. And, you know, I’ve had experiences of telling family members that their loved one was dying on the phone. I mean, it, it was just, it’s, yeah. So, you know, that’s brutal. You know, going into, you know, thinking about our next crisis, how, how can we make hospitals safer, uh, for, for patients, their family members?

So this doesn’t ever happen again. How can we design hospitals with more ventilation? How can we ensure supply chain so, uh, this, this inhumanity will never happen, happen again. 

Will: When you, um, so now you’re the director of the health design lab at, at Thomas Jefferson University. Uh, congratulations, by the way.

That sounds very impressive. That’s, I mean, I think being a physician is enough. Like you [00:22:00] didn’t have to go and do like a whole nother like really impressive thing. But g good on you. Uh, um, what were, were there, can you give us like a concrete example of like a pro, something you tackled from a design standpoint that you saw?


Dr. Bon Ku: You know, one is, I, I have these 3D printers in the back of me here that I see those. Yeah. So we were starting to, we look at a lot of different emerging technologies, so desktop 3D printing, and we, we bought some printers, uh, years ago and thought, you know, what can we do with this in the healthcare space?

You know, can, can we, you know, what are the applications of this technology? So we started doing some research, working with our surgical colleagues in the beginning and, and, and said, Hey, can we use this as another? Data point for surgical planning. So complex surgeries, uh, were, you know, working with our head and neck cancer surgeons around, uh, mandibular reconstruction and thought, Hey, can we print out the mandible from a CAT scan [00:23:00] and do some surgical planning?

So one technique was, um, bending a titanium plate, uh, in the, or in real time to stabilize your, uh, mandible, your, your jaw. And we thought, Hey, why don’t we print these out first? Uh, prebend these plates so we don’t have to do it in real. So the surgeons don’t have to do it in real time in the or, um, you know, sterilize them and see if we can match it.

And so save some time. So that’s like one practical example of, of we have this technology, how can we, uh, think about human-centered design and apply it into real problems in the healthcare space. So that problem was, you know, decreasing or timing and complex surgery. So we’ve done a lot of research, um, around that.


Will: you, you are in one of the best places for figuring, finding out where those problems are. Right. The emergency department, uh, there’s probably so many design things. You’re, you’re, you got like roaming around your [00:24:00] head and, um, oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. Do you have like a holy grail of, of like design you’re trying to, you’re trying to unlock, 

Dr. Bon Ku: you know, you know, one is Yeah.

The holy grail is how do we keep patients from being in hallways Yes. When they’re boarded in the hospital. So you like, it’s, if I could prevent, um, boarding in emergency rooms, I feel like I could die. And that, that would be like, it’d be better than winning a Nobel Prize because I think it’s the most inhumane thing to do.

Right. When you are, when you go to the er, it’s probably the worst moment of your life. Mm-hmm. And then we go, okay, well we’re so busy. Uh, you waited 10 hours and then we’re gonna put you in a hallway bed. And you’re gonna wait maybe 2, 3, 4 hours a day, two days to get upstairs to your admitted bed. I mean, that is, that’s inhumane that happens.

And go, how come this doesn’t happen anywhere [00:25:00] else in the hospital? Like imagine going into the I C U and having aborted patient, like in the hallway on a ventilator in an I C U or, or, you know, think about maybe other industries of, if you hop on a flight and go, Hey, I was assigned a seat. But then they’re like, oh no, you, we don’t have a seat for you.

But you could be in the aisle for this entire, like eight hour flight, landing flight, 

Will: a little overhead then space we could, could 

Dr. Bon Ku: into, slip into. And, and that’s, you know, that’s, that is a great, uh, design challenge of, you know, how do we prevent boarding? And I think a lot of people will go, well, we just.

Need bigger emergency rooms, right. Because, uh, to, so we could have more beds. Well, I mean, I don’t think that is the answer. I think it’s a lot of the policies that, that we have that prevent a patient from going upstairs, from the discharge processes to a human capital of, of, we have nurses, um, and [00:26:00] other clinicians, you know, leaving healthcare in droves.

And so when there’s a shortage of hospital beds, it, I, I don’t like that term. Cause I think there’s, like, really the problem is a shortage of nurses and other Yeah. Other, uh, frontline, frontline workers. The, what 

Will: do they call it? The great resignation. Yeah. So everybody, everybody’s leaving 

Dr. Bon Ku: Oh, a a hundred percent.

And how can we, how can we redesign the experience of a, of a nurse or a clinician working in a system to be a great, great experience? I mean, I, I love the. Um, humanity that I see in so many of my coworkers. You know, there, we really at the end of the day wanna take care of patients, but then when we treat, uh, healthcare workers, put them in the most stressful situations, like don’t give them the resources that they need.

It’s gonna lead to burnout. And it’s really frustrating cause I visit a lot of like tech companies and I go and. I go, this space is a beautiful, there’s like light here, there’s places to decompress, [00:27:00] there’s like free food and kombucha on tap. And I see my residents like stealing Turkey sandwiches from, from the patient trays cuz there’s no food.

I’m like, we’re we need to give some compassion to our, our, our healthcare workers who are in the most stressful situations. Yeah. 

Kristin: And I think, you know, I’m assuming that some pushback to that might be, well that doesn’t increase the bottom line, right? That’s if, if form follows finance, where’s the finance in that?

But I think that that’s maybe a, a short-sighted way of thinking about that problem. Because if you can retain your healthcare workers, um, if you have less turnover, if people are, you know, able to treat patients better, right? Then the patients are happier, the patients get better faster. I mean, all of that.

Would affect the bottom line. Yeah. 

Dr. Bon Ku: And, and burnt out, burnt out. Nurses and physicians are gonna give burnt out care. Right. It’s, it’s, it’s, mm-hmm. It’s, to [00:28:00] me it’s a simpler formula. Like yes, it’s gonna be some short-term pain, but, uh, it’s going to be, have better long-term impact upon the delivery of, 

Will: of care.

Can you, can you 3D print a solution to this? Is this how, how close are you?

Dr. Bon Ku: Well, you know, it is a complex problem that needs a different mindset. Yeah. Uh, you know, like how, how can we give it a different lens? You know, a great part of design is, uh, questioning a problem from multiple different angles. And I think in healthcare we assume that we know the answers all the time, but, you know, how do we, how do we pause, take, take a step back, and how do we think about a better future state?

I think designers are so optimistic because they, and they have to be, they have to think of how something like a product or a service or space is gonna look like in the future, and to [00:29:00] create a path to get there. And I don’t think we do that in healthcare. You know, we don’t think about, Hey, how are we gonna create a better system in 10 years from now and 15 years from now because we’re so busy, uh, literally per, uh, putting out fires every, every day in our jobs.

Mm-hmm. Right. 

Kristin: Yeah. What do you say to people who, you know, you know, the idealism sounds great, the optimism sounds great, but there’s the practicality of in the realism of the situation. So how do we balance those things? 

Dr. Bon Ku: Uh, other countries are doing it, you know, that, uh, you know, I was just reading these stats of, of, uh, we, here in the us out of all the high income nations, like we have the worst health outcomes.

We experience, uh, worse, uh, health outcomes. The, the, we have the, I think the lowest life expectancy at birth. The highest maternal and infant mortality rates. Um, you know, the highest death rates for like treatable conditions. Hmm. And we are the [00:30:00] richest country in the world. So other nations have figured this out.

And this is, uh, you know, you know, nations like, like New Zealand and a lot of European nations and South Korea from where my parents are from, and they figured it out. So it’s not a technology or a financing issue. Like we, we have the finances, we have the technology, and I, I really believe it’s, you know, that we designed these policies, um, incorrectly.

You know, we have not put the human, uh, at the center. 

Will: Well, let’s take a quick break and we’re gonna come back with, uh, Dr. Bon Co.

Hey Kristen. I have a PSA for you and all of our listeners from our friends from Tarsus. Let’s hear it. You know how sometimes you can get red, itchy, irritated eyelids? Okay, well, do you know what that might be? What. Eyelid mites. No. Yeah, it’s true. No, it’s a disease that’s called demodex Blepharitis. That’s disgusting.

It’s pretty common. That’s horrifying. So if [00:31:00] you have itchy, red, irritated eyelids, go talk to your eye doctor. They can take a look at you, tell you if you’re not alone. That’s right. But don’t freak out. Just get checked down. All right. To find out more, go to eyelid Again, that’s eyelid to get more information about Demodex Blepharitis.

All right, we are back with Dr. Bonk now. Uh, uh, Dr. Ku, we, we’ve, uh, established that you’re, uh, you know, you have, you wear two hats. You got this designed that you got the emergency medicine thing, and that emergency medicine provides you with a lot of interesting, uh, experiences. And I know that you, yourself have had an experience as a patient, uh, and kind of a really exemplifies how sometimes bad doctors are as patients.

Would you care to share with us this, 

Dr. Bon Ku: okay, this is, this is embarrassing. It happened a while ago. I, uh, as, as we said before, [00:32:00] I’m addicted to surfing, and one time I was surfing, and I don’t know what happened. I think the board hit me in the head pretty violently, and I was in the lineup and in the ocean.

I’m th and I’m thinking, How long have I been out here in the ocean? And I was like, thinking what happened this morning? Like how did I even get here? And I paddle up to another surfer near me and I said, yo, dude, how long have I been here? And he says, I think you should probably get out of the water. So I get outta water.

I call my buddy who’s another emergency room doctor and who I surf with. And I said, Hey, ed. Did, did I, did we surf together? Did I call you this morning? He’s like, yeah, dude. Like you called me. He was like, we had a whole conversation this morning. I was asking about the waves and he said, don’t drive home.

You should like, just check into a, a local emergency room down there. I like, dude. I was like, I am driving home. I’m not gonna go to my local, like [00:33:00] local hospital. Like otherwise. I felt fine. I just, I had retrograde amn. I couldn’t remember what happened earlier. I starting to think your 

Kristin: driver’s license should be revoked.

Dr. Bon Ku: So I go home and I like, I feel fine, and then I have to work an overnight shift later that later that day and my wife goes, you are not working. You need to go and seek medical treatment. You might have like a bleed. I’m like, I don’t have a bleed, I don’t have a headache. And that’s fine. That’s, that’s 

Will: why I said, fine.

Yeah. That’s my favorite 

Dr. Bon Ku: line. I’m just like a terrible patient. I don’t have a doctor and she just for, she drives me to the hospital before my shift and my colleague takes care of me and she ends up getting a CAT scan of my head and my neck to look for like a dissection or maybe one of my arteries that caused me, yeah.

To like have some amnesia from the head trauma. And then I get this freaking report that says there might be a bleed there in my neck or something like that. Or [00:34:00] maybe abnormal. Oh yeah. Anatomy. So I call one of my trauma surgeons and I go, yo, can you just like take a look at this skin because I gotta work tonight.

And Oh my God. And he’s like, he’s like, I just think it’s like just, I don’t think it’s a bleed. Doesn’t look like a bleed. Just probably it’s fine. One of your vessels, you have some abnormal anatomy there, vascular anomaly or something. And he just said, yeah. And he said, why don’t you just put on a cervical collar and just, you know, come.

Just, we’ll, we’ll see you in the morning. I was like, fine. So I put on a cervical collar and worked my entire shift with that. I couldn’t, like, I had to turn like this. My patient were like, are you okay? 

Kristin: Yeah, that would be a little nervewracking to see your doctor and 

Dr. Bon Ku: ended up show up like that. Ended up, I was fine.

I saw a neurosurgery resident. Later. 

Will: Later. You my shift have to work at all costs. Yeah, I do. 

Dr. Bon Ku: There’s no way. Oh my gosh, what am I, am I gonna call out? Like, because if, if I call out to a shift, then I have to call a colleague to work. And I was like, I’m not gonna do that of, oh my goodness. Something silly of some head trauma [00:35:00] and some just some silly head 

Will: just 

Kristin: can’t remember anything and I’m gonna go treat patients and have their lives in my hands.

It was retrograde. Someone, someone 

Will: else to come in. It was retrograde amnesia. I was asymptomatic. 

Dr. Bon Ku: I didn’t have a headache, no nausea, vomiting. It was fine. You people 

Kristin: are infuriating. She, she always gets down. I had open up with this for, I don’t know, too long now. 

Dr. Bon Ku: It’s terrible. 

Will: Uh, yeah, yeah. When, you know, when I, I had my cancer diagnosis.

I tried to continue working and, and, uh, 

Kristin: and I, yeah, like he left, he left the ultrasound room where we got the diagnosis. I was like, on call and went to work. 

Will: Oh my God. I tried to, I ended up having to, to leave because it was too much emotionally to, to bear. But yeah, like I told you, it would be that.

That’s just another example of why doctors are terrible patients. We don’t know how to take care of ourselves. It’s so, 

Dr. Bon Ku: it’s so bad. I, I would not do that again. I was like younger back then. I’m older now. So 

Will: talk about a design flaw in the way we all think [00:36:00] Yeah. About our own health. All right. Let me, so, so I, I prepared something here.

Um, this is just kind of off the top of my head for the most part. Uh, I, I came up with some healthcare design fails, like in my own mind. Like, these are failures of healthcare. Uh, and I thought we could just like, talk about ’em. Yeah. And maybe we could, maybe, you know, how to fix them. 

Dr. Bon Ku: I’m, I’m ex I’m excited about this.

This is one of my favorite, uh, topics. Healthcare design fails. Well, 

Will: yeah, absolutely. And if, if you have, there’s so many to choose from and if this triggers some, uh, some healthcare design fails that you know of, please uh, feel free to chime in here. Uh, the first one is probably something that you’ve actually encountered in your job.

Uh, I know I have, um, eye drop bottles and super glue bottles look almost identical. Uh oh. Can you imagine how this could be a problem? Yeah. What do you think, Kristen? What do you think happens? People put super glue in their eye. People put super glue. Have you ever seen a super glued eyelid [00:37:00] chef of you? I, is this real?

Dr. Bon Ku: Yes. What? I have not 

Will: seen that yet. Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. It, it probably, I, I hear about it probably once or twice a year. And so, um, again, and we’re in a big metro area, so you know, we’re gonna get, you know, more of, of everything. But, um, yes, people think they mistake the, uh, the super glue for their eyedrops because like gorilla glue, it can, some, some of them come in little bottles that have like a twist cap.

Uh, and um, you know, obviously as like, sometimes people that use eyedrops they can’t see as well. And so, you know, some reason they have the, the eyedrops and the super glue, like on the table, like together or in a drawer together. And then sure enough, they super glue their 

Dr. Bon Ku: eyelid shut. Yeah. 

Kristin: So you just can’t open your eyes.

What happens? Yeah. So do you rip 


Will: cornea off? Well, actually, you know, I guess your eyeballs just come out, can tell you how to treat this. Um, uh, [00:38:00] actually people think that it’s the eyelid that gets glued to the eyeball, but actually what happens is the eyelashes get glued to the, to the skin of the lower eyelid.

Mm-hmm. So, so actually what you can do is just cut the eyelashes off. And then the patient should be able to open their eye. Hmm. 

Kristin: Okay. Not as horrific as it is. Conditioning. 

Will: It’s fairly, I mean, it is horrific for the patient because they think the worst, obviously, that they’re going blind. But then when you can fix it, it’s great.

But anyway, that’s, that’s, that’s, uh, healthcare design. Like what? 

Dr. Bon Ku: Yeah, like designers have a, have a responsibility, uh, making, making some of these products. So remember that there was like that TikTok challenge of people, like kids eating like laundry detergent. Oh, the Tide pods. The Tide pods. The Tide pods.

And. Why would a designer ever design something to look like candy? It looks just like candy. Yes. Like why would Even bright colors. Yeah. Yeah. Bright colors. Like about that size. It looks like something that you [00:39:00] would want Yeah. To eat and consume, like it should never have been designed that way. And, and ba basic things.

One of my favorite slides that I use, uh, in a lot of talks, I had to retire it because I use it so much, but I get so many laughs from the audience, is that we have two thermometers in our trauma bay. An oral thermometer and a rectal thermometer. Oh no. And if you look at it straight on, you cannot tell which one is a oral thermometer.

Which one is a rectal thermometer? So, oh no. Our nurses did a of, of, we have with a, with a marker go rectal oral, because the only way you could tell is a a dot on top of the probe itself. Red or blue. I’m like, oh, you should make those things very different because in, in an emergent situation when we’re working, uh, like in a hospital, you’re just gonna go quickly for a thermometer and no one wants a rectal probe in their mouth.

Will: Oh boy. No, no. I would say, I would say not Nobody wants that. So that reminds [00:40:00] me of That’s a good example. 

Dr. Bon Ku: Crazy glue and, uh, 

Will: yep. Crazy glue and eyedrops. Uh, rectal and oral thermometers. Uh, different things should be, should be, should look differe. Yeah. Yes. Look 

Dr. Bon Ku: differently. Feel differently. 

Will: Sound differently.

Exactly. Alright, here’s one. Uh, can we design a better way for patients to sleep in the hospital? Oh, 

Dr. Bon Ku: I think about this so much yet. So we’ve, we did some exploratory research on this with sound that. There are way too many alarms in a hospital. Needless alarms, you know, so you could, like, how can you design, um, an ecosystem of alarms where, uh, where the devices speak to each other?

Because currently medical manufacturers of these devices, they can put any freaking alarm they want on a device, but there’s no system that orchestrates all of these sounds. Hmm. And then also, you know, why do we need a, a 2:00 AM blood draw on, on a [00:41:00] patient or 2:00 AM vital signs, like, can we eliminate that and prioritize sleep for, for patients?

So I think there are so many ways where we can minimize, um, sleep disruptions or design redesign, the way that we take care of patients overnight. Mm-hmm. Redesign the, um, alarms that we have for in, in the hospital or even the rooms 

Will: themselves. Yeah, the rooms. Yeah. You know, like why? I don’t know if we still have, I’m sure we still have lots of hospitals that have like two patients to a room, but that should probably not be a thing.

Yeah. I don’t know. But it, 

Dr. Bon Ku: it still, still happens. Yeah. Yeah. 

Kristin: And even little things like just make it a little more comfortable and, and nice looking in there. Right. So you can relax and, and sleep. 

Will: It’s, or have windows that can, you can crack open and get a little 

Kristin: Yeah. Little air, fresh air or something.

Dr. Bon Ku: Yeah. Fresh air. I mean, I wish I had that during the pandemic, right? Because you, not all of our rooms, uh, were negative pressure rooms and, you know, because of the way [00:42:00] hospitals are designed, they’re hermetically sealed and Right. I sometimes I wish I was like, I wish I had an open window and I quit a fan in there that I could buy a target cause mm-hmm.

I would feel protected. Right. So, you know, I have a, a buddy who’s an architect, Michael Murphy, and he talks about, you know, How can we design hospitals themselves to have p p e? We think of, you know, what, what would that look like? The PPE of, of buildings, of ventilating them. But instead we put, we think of, we just think of the humans in those buildings say, Hey, we could put PPE E on them.

Mm-hmm. Right. That’s a good 

Will: point. All right. How about, um, can we design away fax machines? Is it, you mentioned fax machines earlier. I, and it’s, can we, is is there a, do you perceive a world in the future where we do not rely on fax machines? 

Kristin: Yeah. I feel like the rest of the world, the rest of the industries have figured this out.

So what’s the problem? 

Dr. Bon Ku: Yeah. [00:43:00] I, I, I don’t know. I mean, it, it is, You’re 

Will: the director of the health design lab. If you can’t figure this out, no one can, nobody can figure this out. Okay. One, 

Dr. Bon Ku: uh, this proves my point that we don’t have a technology problem, right? We, we have a design problem, right? Yeah. The, we have the technology to send secure, uh, patient information over.

Over many other mediums besides a fax machine, but we still use fax machines routinely. So the system has been designed to keep these, um, archaic mm-hmm. 1980s technology. And I think it’s funny cuz our medical students nowadays, the first time they’ve seen a fax machine is their third year clerkships, uh, in the hospital.

So like, they literally don’t know how to use a technology cuz this is the first time they’ve encountered. They’re like, what is this? You know, they’re, I’m like, man, I am old. Like, these kids do not know what a fax machine is. [00:44:00] So, um, 

Will: I don’t think it’s ever gonna happen. I don’t 

Kristin: know. Nor are fax machines any more secure than encrypted data.

I mean, the paper just sits there on the other end. You have no idea who’s gonna see that. 

Will: I don’t know. I mean, that, that’s, that was the argument for fax machines for a long time, was that it was like HIPAA compliant. Like, so you can, 

Kristin: how though, like there’s, the paper just sits, there’s anyone can go by 

Will: and read it.

It does, it does just sit at the fax machine. So it’s, I think there’s limit, it’s, it’s still super, super 

Dr. Bon Ku: cheap, uh, to have, and it’s a real cheap, secure way of, of sending information. But it infuriates me, like I, my, my, my daughter had to get, um, uh, a c l repair. Uh, she, she tore it and, and then at one point they were like, yeah, can you fax over some information?

Like, are you kidding me? Faxing over. Information. 

Kristin: My favorite is when sometimes my, you know, healthcare institutions where I receive healthcare will ask me to fax something and I’m like, no, no I can’t. Like from your house, how would I even do that? [00:45:00] Yeah, your residential, like maybe the public library might still have 

Will: one.

Let me find a fax 

Dr. Bon Ku: machine. Oh, I thought it was a moral argument. It’s like, no, I refuse to. It’s cause you don’t have a fax machine. It’s the principle who 

Will: matter. 

Kristin: Who does, who can do that anymore? 

Will: All right, I got a couple more. Um, can we design a better slit lamp? Oh, 

Dr. Bon Ku: yes. I mean, they’re so hard to use. Like I, yes, did a few weeks of ophthalmology as a emergency medicine resident, and so, you know, I, I put some time in to learn it, but Good for you.

It is, yeah. It’s big and cumbersome. You know, you need 

Will: Yep. Exactly. For those of you who don’t know what a slit lamp is, it, it’s a, it’s a, a machine on wheels that, basically it’s a microscope that allows you to look at the front and the back of the eye, uh, with, uh, fine detail. It’s 

Kristin: pain when you’re a patient and you go to the eye doctor and it, it’s the one or two?

One or two, no, no, 

Will: no, no. It’s the four optic. It’s the big [00:46:00] thing that 

Dr. Bon Ku: sit on that’s not, no, that’s not 

Will: the thing. 

Kristin: No, I had all this time I thought 

Will: that was No, the slit SL lamp. The slit lamp is the look at that slit lamp’s, the bright light. That they shine in your eye. The thing that you hate so much, they dial at your eyes and they shine a bright light.

The, the thing you’re talking 

Kristin: about, you still have that thing on your face when they do that, 

Will: right? No, not necessarily. 

Dr. Bon Ku: You gotta put your chin on that thing there. Yeah, 

Will: that thing. That thing. Okay. Well, I, I think you’re maybe thinking about maybe you’re combining, maybe we should combine the two into one device.

I don’t know. 

Kristin: Don’t think we might be onto something here anyway from the patient perspective. Seems like the same thing. 

Will: It looks like a, it looks like a, um, a medieval torture device. It really does. Yeah. It feels like one too. It, I’m, I, yes, it does. It. I’m sure it does. Uh, and it doesn’t, you wouldn’t know.


Kristin: never had an eye exam. 

Will: A lot of body. It’s true. Okay. You’re calling me out here. It’s true. I don’t wear glasses. I never have. And I, I had one. You still get an 

Kristin: exam? Exam? That’s what you tell me. You’re right. Doctors are the worst 

Will: [00:47:00] patients. Oh, doctor, we’re the worst. Keep coming back to that. Anyway, we need a new, a different type of slit lamp one that like, also, depending on your body type, it doesn’t fit a lot of people.

And, and so it’s just all around, 

Dr. Bon Ku: uh, needs and, and I think we need a, uh, we need to design a slit lamp for non ophthalmologists because I don’t need all those bells and whistles. I just need to look for like exactly a corneal abrasion. Right. And I. Don’t like, and I’m like, there’s so many dials to get it perfectly.

I like, I I don’t need to do that. 

Kristin: And slit lamp for dummies. Yes. Business idea today. Like me, 

Dr. Bon Ku: like I need a slit lamp design for me. 

Will: I’ll tell you, this is a, people listening have probably heard this already, but, uh, I, this is what I always tell emergency physicians, like if it’s been a while since you’ve been, since you’ve sat down at the slit lamp and you, you’re trying to remember what everything works just to the patient.

You say, who messed with this thing? And it’s gonna, it’s gonna buy you a little time to, to try to figure it out. I’m totally 

Dr. Bon Ku: going to [00:48:00] like write, write that down. That that’s a, I have all these scripts for patients that, that I use. So I’m like, I gotta 

Will: remember that one. Yeah. Okay. I have one more, one more.

Design fail. Um, how do we design nicer cardiologists? Can we do, can we do something about this? What do 

Dr. Bon Ku: you mean? I think the cardiologists in my hospital are. A lot of them are nice. Oh, you have to 

Will: say that. Okay. They’re, they’re gonna be listening to this. I’m so glad you have nice ones. No, I’m hard on the cardiologist.

I, I had like one or two of the difficult experiences as a med student that might have ended up with me crying. Uh, but, uh, it, you know, I think overall probably they’re nicer than I imagined. But, um, you know, maybe we could just cut out the, you know, asking about details on an e kg. Maybe that’s, oh 


Dr. Bon Ku: I dunno.

I, you know, and I think at, you know, that it’s a, it’s a funny question, but it is a serious question too. Like, how can we redesign medical education and, [00:49:00] and how can we norm, how can we design behaviors. Right in, in medicine, how could we redesign those behaviors? You know, if I, when I was a medical student, you know, when I, I had a surgeon throw surgical instruments in, in a room and yell at me and say, Hey, maybe you shouldn’t, uh, I was thinking about going to surgery, but it was like, well, maybe you should go into pediatrics instead.

I’m like, what? That is so mean. What pediatrics is a great feel. And like that is a, like, it’s so insulting. So I think, uh, medical schools are doing a better job of designing behaviors and modeling, uh, out there, but I, I think we can, we can do better. 

Will: That sounds like a difficult, a difficult endeavor to be redesigned behavior.

I love, I would 

Kristin: some co-design in medical education too, from patients and families and physicians, right? Like, how can we design this whole system to work better for the people? I think it’s, BJ Miller has that great quote about healthcare systems are designed for [00:50:00] diseases, not people, which is to say they’re badly designed.

Yeah. So, I wanna see people have input into, you know, what can be better. And then we start just teaching people 

Dr. Bon Ku: to do those things. You’re speaking like a true designer, Kristen. I think Stanford Medical School has a co-design process, um, in their admissions. I, I think they actually have, like, patients from the community participate in interviewing medical students.

Oh. So that, that’s one Cause that’s gonna be their patients. Yeah. And then a patient may go, Hey, this, um, undergrad or This applicant has no social skills or no emotional intelligence. Interesting. Maybe, maybe you should not accept it. 

Will: Oh, that’s an interesting idea. Yeah. 

Kristin: Oh, I could talk all day about this stuff.

Will: Well, let’s, let’s take a break and then, uh, we’re gonna come back with a couple of stories from a very special person. Oh. Oh, right. And uh, and so we’ll be right back with Dr. [00:51:00] Bonk.

All right, we are back. We’re gonna take a look at, uh, a couple of. Special stories from Kristen’s dad? Yes. Or more? Am I actually more your grandfather? 

Kristin: My grandfather. Yeah. Through your dad. Exactly. My dad sent these in to our email address, which I thought was really 

Dr. Bon Ku: cute. That is cool. 

Will: And, and your grandfather, uh, was an, um, obstetrician.

Yep. And he actually designed something very special. He designed what’s called the Mighty Vac, which is a, you’ll have to help me. I think it’s a, like a plastic disposable, it’s a vacuum. Vacuum extractor. 

Kristin: Vacuum extractor. It’s a certain kind of vacuum, like the vacuum extractor as a device, um, existed, but it was like made of steel and it was really, you know, not a great experience for the, the doctor or the baby.

And they came out with a big, you know, cone on their head and that freaked the bombs [00:52:00] out. And it just, all around, uh, it was doing the bare minimum but wasn’t doing a great job. And so, um, My grandfather always used to tell the story of he was sitting in a sauna one day and where 

Will: all the best meetings 

Kristin: happen and uh, there was another guy in there and he would say, you know, you gotta talk about something while you’re sitting there naked.

So, I. They just start making smell t about what they do. And it turns out he was a plastics manufacturer and one thing led to another and, and they came up with a new design for the vacuum extractor that involved, um, a certain kind of plastic. And anyway, he patented that and, and that’s the mighty vac and it’s still in use today.

So I thought these stories are particularly appropriate for this episode with you bonk. Oh, 

Dr. Bon Ku: that, that’s so cool. I love, I love like where inspiration comes from. Can, comes a sauna, can it 

Will: sauna? 

Dr. Bon Ku: Right. Some of my best moments are in the shower when I’m, that’s on my devices. I, my, my brain can just like, go down different pathways.

Yeah. I’m with you. You 

Kristin: [00:53:00] completely unrelated things together and something magical comes out of it. But, you know, I, 

Dr. Bon Ku: I encourage, like a lot of us, uh, to look at outside healthcare for inspiration. Yeah. You know, design is called this like, There’s a term for this called like analogous inspiration of looking at another, uh, industry for some, uh, in inspiration.

So, you know, like a lot of us in healthcare airlines, you know, we get a lot of inspiration for them and kind of like pilots how they use simulation and, you know, why can’t we teach simulation to, uh, doctors instead of having them take multiple choice question tests every 10 years to get recertified, but maybe they should have as rigorous, uh, processes like pilots do to get, maintain their 

Kristin: certification or even just cross-disciplinary within medicine.

You guys are so siloed that it just doesn’t. You know, allow for these moments of creativity to, yeah. I 

Dr. Bon Ku: don’t think I’ve talked to an ophthalmologist in 10 years. Yeah, that’s right. 

Will: Doesn’t surprise me 

Dr. Bon Ku: whatsoever anyway. Or [00:54:00] radiologist. I never see them anymore. I, we used to have reading rooms. I loved going back and to the reading room and talking with a human.

Now it just like over chat in the electronic health record. 

Will: Yeah. You think you haven’t talked to certain doctors. When was the last time I talked to anybody outside of my own field? I don’t know. Just this podcast. This, yeah. Exactly. All right, so these are a couple of stories from, uh, Kristen’s grandfather.

So, uh, and your dad sent us these. So it says, Kristen, your grandfather enjoyed telling the story of a mischievous, mischievous patient of his who became bored lying in bed in the hospital, recovering from surgery. The nurse brought him his lunch and a small plastic bottle for a urine sample that he was, uh, was to fill at his leisure.

After he finished his lunch, which included apple juice, he then surreptitiously poured his apple juice into the sample bottle and waited patiently for the nurse to return. As she asked for the bottle, he started to hand it to her and then abruptly stopped just short of handing it [00:55:00] to her. Held it up to the light and said, hold on a sec.

This looks a little cloudy. Let me run, run that through again. And then started, and then, and then to the startled dismay of the nurse, quickly chugged it down. 

Kristin: That’s great. Gotta give that another pass through the kidneys. 

Will: Gotta give that another, pass it out a little. 

Dr. Bon Ku: That’s a good one. I have not seen that.

That’s a great 

Will: one. That was a difference. That’s a good, that’s, that’s, that’d be, that’d still be a pretty solid prank on your, on your nurse. I’m sure that would, that would throw people for a loop. Okay. The second one. Uh, he also told the story of a high school boy who worked part-time in the afternoons at a small filling station garage in a tiny rural community nearby.

The boy came to him complaining that he was having difficulty urinating your father, examined him and quickly became suspicious. Something was up after quite some interrogating. The boy confessed. He had grown bored the day before and found some small ball bearings lying around and thought it would be a cool idea to shove them up his penis and shoot them out.

Shoot them out [00:56:00] while peeing. That was the goal. Oh my God. To shoot them out. I’m sure you have probably encountered your fair share of things in orifices. Um, not where they, they should not be. Where they should not be 

Dr. Bon Ku: all, all the time. And you know, I used like, why do people do this? I don’t know. And like, you know, there’s like crazy x-ray findings and all this stuff and you know, people sticking form bodies up the rectum and urethra and swallowing stuff and, and you know, but you know, You know, you know, as I grow older, I go, I started asking patients like, why did you do this?

And, you know, I had one patient keep on swallowing objects and he is like, you know what, like, I’m just like depressed doctor, and this is my way of, of dealing with the stress and depression. I’m like, yeah. I mean, yeah. It’s like, it’s sad, you know, because this guy has to go to the operating room and, and like, you know, 

Will: it’s, I’m sure you probably get a lot of different reasons, a lot of interesting conversations come 

Dr. Bon Ku: from.

Yeah. Those [00:57:00] types of, yeah. We have the best, uh, stories to tell. A cocktail parties mean. It’s kind one reason I went to do specialty. 

Will: I’ve heard a lot of them. Yeah. All right. You can send us your stories. Knock knock high human Uh, Dr. Baku, thank you so much for joining us. Before you go, uh, let us know, uh, what, what’s going on in your life, uh, uh, what you want people to know about.

Dr. Bon Ku: Yeah. Um, uh, We have a great book on called, oh my gosh, you have it called. We have 

Will: the book. Of course. We have the book. It’s a wonderful book. 

Dr. Bon Ku: It’s called, uh, health, health Design Thinking. It’s co-written by a famous designer named Ellen Lupton, and she did the second edition, uh, during the pandemic. And we use examples of creativity during, during the pandemic.

So if this, Intersection of design and healthcare is interesting to you. Uh, check it out. And I have a podcast called Design Lab, where we explore this in depth. So we have like architects on [00:58:00] industrial designers, um, physicians, other folks, and we just like take a deep dive into the intersectionality between design and health.

Very cool. 

Will: Not only is it a great book on design, but the book itself is designed very well. It is. It’s very pretty. It’s very pretty to It is. 

Dr. Bon Ku: It is. Yeah. Yeah. Uh, Jenny Tobias did all the illustrations. It’s like, uh, graphing paper here, like EAG Machine and it’s, that’s awesome. It’s, it’s a beautifully designed 

Will: book.

Check it out. Health design thinking. Uh, bonk. Thank you so much. Uh, it’s, it’s really been a pleasure talking 

Dr. Bon Ku: to you. This was a dream. I’m gonna be so famous in emergency medicine now. Like you, you both are legends. Like, I’m gonna be like, I’m, I’m gonna impress people in my specialty. So thank you. Alright, good talking 

Will: to you.

Take care.

What a fun conversation that was. Yes. 

Kristin: I could go on forever about all that stuff. That was super fun. Check out, check out. When they talked 

Will: to him for a long time. It’s really, I haven’t [00:59:00] gotten all the way through it, but I know you’re, you know, it’s, from what I’ve read, it’s uh, it’s really fascinating stuff.

It, it’s a topic that you just don’t, you know, going through medical education and training, it, it, it’s, it makes perfect sense why we would need, yeah. Um, designed good design to redesign everything, like the whole thing really. Yeah. Um, 

Kristin: but it’s, it makes me, you know, start to have questions about how it was designed in the first place.

You know, how did we get here? Why is it this way? The residency schedules, like, you know, I don’t know if this is an urban myth or true, but apparently, you know, the rumor is that they, they, the system we have for, for the long hours that doctors work at, especially residents, are because there was a doctor that was on cocaine.

Yeah. That set the cocaine 

Will: for everyone really had a big influence in, in the formative years of medical education and 

Kristin: training. So that’s the system and the design from that, that, you know, that’s what we have right now. So I feel like it’s due for a redesign. Maybe we, maybe we should reconsider. Yeah. We 

Will: need to go from a, a cocaine design system [01:00:00] Yeah.

To a non just caffeine. 

Kristin: Caffeine would work. Yeah. Leave the caffeine in, but maybe take it 

Will: down a notch. Oh, and thank you to, uh, Kristen’s dad for sharing those stories as well. Those are always fun. Those were fun. And he practiced, like this was in the. Fifties and sixties. He was practicing, um, 

Kristin: I mean he delivered me, so I don’t know the exact dates, but Yeah.

Sixties he was 

Will: practicing and sixties to in the sixties to 

Kristin: eighties. May train sixties, I really dunno. Something like that. Yeah. Sixties to nineties. I think I remember when he long career retired. Yeah. So, yeah. 

Will: Uh, and so it let us know what you think about this episode. We had a great, that was a, I think this is gonna be a really fun one.

Yeah. And, um, there’s lots of ways to hit us up. By the way, you can email us, knock knock high human, visit us, visit us on our social media. Uh, we’re on pretty much everything, right? Yeah. Yeah. TikTok, uh, Instagram, 

Kristin: Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, all of it. The all 

Will: the things. And you can also hang out with us and our Human Content Podcast family on [01:01:00] Instagram and TikTok at Human Content Pods.

Now we want to thank all of the great listeners for leaving feedback and reviews. If you subscribe and comment on your favorite podcasting app or on YouTube, we can give you a shout out, like Today, the War Within a War on Apple Said, down To Earth. Great. Listen, information is fresh and easy to listen to.

Oh, I think it’s probably you. I don’t know how easy I am to listen to, but no, we’re, I think we’re both pretty, fairly easy to listen to. Thank you so much for that comment. Uh, keep sending us your stories, jokes, and guest ideas. I, I love seeing, um, uh, emails from people suggesting certain guests and a lot of interesting people out there to talk to.

Uh, full episodes of this podcast is up every week on my YouTube channel at d Glock and Flecking. Uh, we also have a Patreon, lots of cool perks, bonus episodes where we react to medical shows and movies, hang out with other members of the knock-knock high community. We’re there active in it, uh, interacting, commenting, posting things.

You get early ad-free episode access, q and a [01:02:00] livestream events, and a lot more. flein or go to glock Speaking of Patreon, community Perks, new member, shout out to tupa m Julie, s Mark, and kl. Shout out to all the Jonathans as well. Patrick, Lucia, C Sharon, S Omer, Edward, K Steven, G Robox, Jonathan m Marion W, Mr.

Granddaddy Caitlin, C Brianna, l Cha W, Jonathan, a Leah, d and K L, Patreon, roulette Time. This is when we give a shout out to, uh, a random emergency physician tier of the Patreon. So that’s right. We have a shout out. Oh, I got do the thing. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. 

Kristin: Drum roll. 

Will: Please shout out to Michael H for being a patron, and thank you all for listening.

We are your host, will and Kristen Flannery, also known as the Glock Flecking. Special thanks to our guest today, Dr. Bon Coup. And our executive producers are Will Flannery. Kristen Flannery, Aron Korney, Rob Goldman, Shahnti Brooke, our editor and engineer Jason [01:03:00] Porto. Our music is by Omer Ben-Zvi. To learn about knock, knock high’s program disclaimer and ethics policy, submission verification, and licensing terms and HIPAA release terms, you can go to glock or reach out to us at Glock Knock knock high and human with any questions, concerns, or other medical jokes.

I did it. Knock, knock high is a human content production.


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