Hello Kitty Hospital a Hit With Moms-To-Be

Filed under: Weird But True

Hello Kitty dollIs it a hospital or a theme park? That's the question some are asking about Hau Sheng Hospital, located 95 miles south of Taipei -- the maternity ward at this Taiwan health-care center is using iconic Japanese cartoon character Hello Kitty to calm expectant mothers.

Patents are greeted by a giant Hello Kitty figure dressed in a pink doctor's uniform, and the famous feline also adorns several murals throughout the hospital and even the newborns' pink and blue blankets.

Owner Tasi Tsung-ji has an agreement with Sanrio Co., the maker of Hello Kitty, that allows him to use the copyrighted image to adorn his hospital with the cute cat. He says he made the change at the suggestion of the Hello Kitty fans in his life -- his mom, wife and daughter.

"When new moms feel anxious and lost about how to deal with their new babies, Hello Kitty can make them more relaxed and reduce their sense of discomfort while giving birth," said Tsai.

The hospital has delivered 2,000 babies since its 2006 make-over.

Marketing experts say the idea of a cartoon-themed hospital is "controversial," and could be perceived as frivolous. Some people are "bound to think the entire hospital is like a theme park," said Angela Lee, a professor at Northwestern University's School of Management in Chicago.

I have to agree with Lee. Considering that I had two c-sections, I'm not sure I'd feel entirely safe being cut open by a surgeon wearing a Hello Kitty mask. I'm all for fun, but birthing is serious business. What if, heaven forbid, you suffer complications? What if your baby is sick? What if you suffer a loss?

What do you think? Is a Hello Kitty maternity ward cute or callous?

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.