Thursday, June 8, 2017

Winds of change - 23

(This is the twenty third part of a short story which is entirely a work of fiction.)

Three days later, a meeting was called of all the Heads of Departments and the Admin team at 9 in the morning. Vasudha addressed them in the Conference Hall.

“Good morning everyone. Thanks for taking the time out and coming in for this meeting. Our hospital has gone through many tough phases but none can compare, at least for me at a personal level to that we have just faced. When Dr. Som and I started this hospital, we really thought we could bring quality healthcare to Rajahmundry and the surrounding areas. This was lacking and we thought we could fulfil a real need.

We raised money from many people who had faith in our capability. Over the years we have built a solid team. We are doing fairly well for our age and our size. Somewhere down the line, however, I got a little paranoid about the financial viability and sustainability of the hospital. In that process, certain compromises were made. I now realise how dangerous even a single compromise can be in healthcare.

We all should never forget that the lives of our patients is in our hands. For us, the death of a patient merely becomes a statistic. A number in an Excel spreadsheet somewhere goes up by one. However, when you think, of the impact on the patient and his or her family, this means a lot, lot more than that spreadsheet number. The patient’s life is over and with it, all her dreams, all her ambitions also die. For the family, it could mean a tumultuous change. They could be faced with uncertainty over their future. Many families lose their sole breadwinners. Imagine their plight!

Healthcare companies and especially hospitals like ours should never lose sight of the overarching goal of providing and sustaining life. Everything else is secondary. If we put financials above life, then we are doomed to fail. Unfortunately I have realised this a little late.

Dr. Som had a vision - quality healthcare at affordable prices. I am going to work towards achieving that vision at this hospital from this moment onwards. He had come up with a plan a few months back which I and many of us in this room had felt was not sustainable. We tried a pilot which failed and was scrapped. I have decided to reinstate that pilot. It was not a perfect plan. But at least the intent was right. We need to work together as a team and iron out the kinks in the plan and make it work.

We have lost Dr. Som. Whether we had control over that or not is a matter of debate. We still have his ideals. Whether we lose them or not is completely in our control. I need the co-operation of each and every individual in this room. Without that we will fail. I will be sending a detailed plan over email. This is, by no means, a final plan. This is for your thoughts and inputs. Please go over the plan in detail and get back to me with your thoughts by the end of this week. We will meet again on Monday to discuss specific aspects of the plan and your suggestions. Rollout will happen on the first of next month.

And yes, Manav Sharma will lead the implementation of this plan. Thanks all of you.”

Many people in the room had become a little emotional. Some felt their eyes turn moist. They all got up, came and wished Vasudha and then left one by one.

Manav was the last person left. He walked up to Vasudha and said, “Ma’am, thanks so much for doing this. And thanks for putting your faith in me. I promise I won’t let you down. I will work hard to make this plan a success. I promise you, you’ve done the right thing.”

A tear rolled down Manav’s right cheek. He was embarrassed. He quickly wiped it and left the hall.

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