Friday, October 5, 2012

The Holy Healthy Word

A bit of news from the island, which I just heard about and thought it funny enough to pass on.

The top brass from St. Croix's Juan F. Luis Hospital were testifying again before the Senate this week. The senator who chairs the committee hates the hospital CEO. She hates him. He's smart – smarter than her, but that's not hard – and he's from off island, he's "an outsider." He was brought in almost two years ago to try to save the hospital, which is staggering under massive debt and years of mismanagement. He's really good at his job, and he's changing the JFL culture and doing the things that need doing to try to turn it around. It's still touch and go whether they'll make it.

But he's had to do some unpopular things, and St. Croix does not like change. I've said it before and I'll say it again, the unofficial motto of the Virgin Islands is "That's The Way We've Always Done It." So even though business as usual would have forced the hospital's closure a year ago, people resent him. And the one senator in particular hates him. You can see it every time he has to testify before her committee. She's just as rude as it's possible to be in such a setting. I've never seen anything like it. She's one of those politicians whose career is based on posturing for the voters that she's always angrily defending them. She follows the political maxim, "It's not what you know, it's how loud you know it."

Yet the hospital CEO never rises to the bait, never reacts angrily or replies in kind. He just answers the questions and is polite and respectful of the office. He's really the best I've ever seen at it. And that just pisses her off more.

So Wednesday she and a couple of her colleagues were just raining down shit on him again, stupid, rude, intentionally offensive questions, and he was answering calmly and as succinctly as he could. And suddenly the senator accused him of ordering the removal of all the Bibles from the hospital. He apparently looked confused.

The senator said one of her "inside sources" at the hospital had told her he'd ordered all the Bibles removed from the patients rooms. What about it?

He shook his head and said, no, he'd never done anything like that. Then, a light dawned, and he figured out what she was talking about.

The Gideon Society had asked to put more Bibles in the rooms, but the hospital couldn't accept them. Hospitals have to make sure the Bibles are sterilized first. A large mass of paper – like a carton or two of books that have been stored for an indeterminate period of time – can become infected with mold or germs and could pose a health risk to patients. So he'd had to turn them down, and asked the Gideons to send a load of Bibles that have been prepared specifically for hospitals.

The senator looked confused, and replied that she didn't think Bibles could get germs, because of their sacredness.

Where do people get this stuff?

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