Friday, March 19, 2010

Washington Hospital Center - A role model for how not to be....

First off, I apologize for the hiatus. In February, I became involved in two top secret projects, one of which I can now proudly show off - my photography website:

The other project - you will hear from me soon enough. Moving quickly on, let's get to the topic of the day.

Why bother with hospitals on a medical device blog?

Maybe you were going to ask this, maybe you were not. The important thing is this. Where do medical devices come from? Apart from barely functional bare stents and bare stents coated with crap, most functional medical devices come from the clinical setting where someone identifies a need.

So any good medical device designer who is worth his salt, and is not looking to re-jig a combination of body parts and catheters, stents and balloons, will look at the hospital and/or clinical setting to understand diseases much better.

The disease that afflicts Washington Medical Center

The disease that affects this hospital that fired 21 employees for not showing up to work during a blizzard does not appear to be all that uncommon. With a recession and more people than jobs out there, spineless employers have plenty of opportunity.

What is appalling is, this is not unique to this hospital. It may have faded rather quickly from public memory but a Doctor and a Sheriff from Texas (a state that knows history, science nor the meaning of facts) that harassed a nurse for being a whistle-blower, preceded this nonsense.

The Defense

The defense from the Hospital's "old boy's club" is that a lot of other employees showed up to work. I think there is a different reason. I think too much golf, disconnection from reality and a cold blizzard caused a stroke of genius in these guys.

In case you haven't read or watched the news recently, you will be surprised to know that there is a deep penalty for some folks if they fail to show up for work during blizzards. These would be the 21 employees who were recently fired by a hospital here in Washington D.C.

The consequences of being an uncaring employer

True, you could fire and hire at will right now. But, what do you think will happen six months from now? What will be your reputation in the long run?

Maybe you did not learn how to design the brand new, spanking medical device from this post. But, I do hope you learned something more important. And that, is how not to be like the folks over at Washington Hospital Center.

Defending the indefensible - Snow Angels and other diversions

Instead of trying to understand how bad the situation is, it appears that one of the managers in the upper "echelons" of the hospital decided to divert the attention of the Washington Post which has been writing about the firing (links at the end of the post).

Through a missive aimed at the editor, she called to attention the fact that the employees that showed up and a lot of people got treated.

Yes, we are all happy.

However, those 21 people who could not come (and did not simply goof off) because of the blizzard. How about them? Where is their miracle?

What happened to good faith and mutual trust? How are we to proceed forward with innovations in health-care if employees have to live and work in fear?

I hope the union gives the hospital management the good roasting it deserves.

A final note - innovation and success

A lot of people mislead themselves that success has to do with Excel charts, Powerpoint presentations, strategic acquisitions, seamless integrations and such.

All that nonsense aside, success and innovation have to do with mutual trust and faith. The right environment for all this is one where the term employer is just a blur. Only when everyone in the organization feels a sense of belonging will success ensue.

Cannot believe this?

Well, you will never succeed. Yes, you can fire 21 people and feel mighty. But the world is puking with disgust. Eventually, that will be your biography - that will be the mark you leave.

Feel successful?

It is not easy to create an open environment. Nothing else in life, is easy either.


1. The story:

2. The Kool-Aid:

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