Saturday, September 10, 2011

Hospital CEO Blunder

 On Friday morning I attended a morning meet and greet with local business people which included a presentation by the President and CEO of a major hospital. He discussed health care in Maine, the hospital's successes, and how to make the hospital run more efficiently. At one point he singled out obesity and smoking as some of the largest factors people end up in the hospital and said we need to combat these things to lower the number of people needing critical care.

All in all, an interesting discussion. My favorite part, or perhaps least favorite, was when a gentleman approached a microphone to ask a question said, "I was recently advised by my doctor to adopt a more plant-based diet so that I can get off of certain medications. I've been doing this and have never felt better. What are your thoughts on the idea that a plant-based diet could improve the general health of people, thus lowering those with chronic disease?" I wanted to stand up and cheer, "Bravo!" for this man's bravery for posing a question like this in a room of 400 business people eating eggs and sausage.

The CEO slightly grimaced before shrugging and chuckling as he said, "Well I'm a meat and potatoes man my self." To which everyone in the room gave a hearty laugh....except for me and probably the man who asked the question. I should have laughed, stood up, and said, "Joke's on you man! Have fun with those clogged arteries that me and this dude will never have to deal with!" He went on to completely skirt the man's question by saying he was glad that the man's doctor took time to talk to him and was glad he found something that worked for him specifically. So in my head I'm thinking these shenanigans are over...but no. One of the share-holders of Barber Foods stands up and says, "I hear eating chicken every day will make you healthier." And the CEO says, "Yes! Chicken stuffed with broccoli and cheese!" And again everyone laughs....except for me and probably the man who asked the original question.

I hate situations like these. You feel powerless sitting there as everyone laughs and completely misses the point. The irony of the situation was so palatable for me - here you are talking about how we need to figure out how to keep people out of the hospitals, and you're discrediting one of the most effective ways to do it! But what could I have done. Nothing I could have said if I had approached the microphone would have changed these people's minds. Sometimes it's easier to keep your mouth shut and find other ways to educate people.

What would you have done?

No comments:

Post a Comment