Evidence of Need

Joseph P. Bottini, August 13, 2016

Decision made without proper canvassing of medical professionals opinions is folly.

It appears a group of citizens, and some politicians, decided we need a new hospital to replace the three existing facilities. The most pronounced reason I have heard, thus far, is the State is offering $300,000,000 and we best take full advantage of this opportunity. This is not a wrong opinion. It has some merit.

The second most often heard reasoning for a vote for the project is it would help the city of Utica rehabilitate a huge neighborhood that is in a state of deterioration. This is not a wrong opinion. It has some merit.

However, neither reason by itself, nor even both reasons together, would suffice as the criteria that carry the day for or against the decision. Each position mandates supportive data in order to carry the burden of full vetting to a reasonable and well thought-out conclusion.

I have not seen any reports of professional medical personnel indicating this need. This decision ought to, at least, have the support of the medical community. I may have missed it, but do we have a list of medical professionals for, and a list against such a project? Has it been made public?

Once this is surveyed and distributed, it seems to me one ought to compile and distribute a list of those medical professionals who are for a downtown site and a list of those for the St. Luke’s site. Do we have such information and has it been made public?

If one is to support a decision, one needs all the compelling negatives (reasons against the decision), all the compelling positives (reasons for the decision) boldly publicized. If it is a right decision, the negatives would be few and minor - and the positives would be many and major. Only in this way would we know if it is a good decision.

I would submit it is a good idea to include the non-medical employees including the blue-collar hires. There could easily be some very serious reasons for or against a project of this caliber rendered by those who work in its system on a daily basis. Each of aforementioned folks could harbor some good insight by virtue of one’s daily working the system and thus, knowing it in an intimate and “hands-on” fashion.

About fifty years ago, I worked as a “male orderly” - who today might be a nurse’s assistant. I observed and learned much about the hospital from a point of view far different than the physicians, registered nurses, practical nurses, administrators, laboratory specialists, phlebotomists, dietary employees, laundry staff, maintenance staff, or what at the time was referred to as cleaners (inside maintenance).

Those first responders who have the responsibility of transporting and caring for patients while getting them to a hospital facility would have some input about traffic and could easily rate the hospital’s access. This is a very important consideration that the hospital CEO and Chief Physician would not be in a position to evaluate.

If you have ever watched the program “Undercover Boss” I am sure you get the idea. Of course, if you have the attitude of being superior to those of a lesser working rank, none of the above would make very much sense to you in the first place.

I submit the following query: Who do you think knows the workings of a machine best, the engineer who is in full understanding of its theoretical function or the operator on the night shift who works it by knowing all the quirks and oddities of that particular piece of equipment? I would have to believe both have some singular knowledge to impart, each from a very different perspective.

The burden of proof of a decision becomes easily provided if all such information is exposed, explained, questioned and understood by all parties.

The most glaring “red flag” in my mind is the secrecy, vague explanations and/or absent exposure to the public. If one has a proper decision based on facts and supported by all parties involved, there would be little need for emotional debate.

Certainly, anyone for or against this project ought to be willing to dissect all of the evidence, consume it and digest it before taking a position. AND, neither side should harbor any ill toward others who disagree. And, members of neither side ought to fear shedding a little bright sunshine on the whole as each piece is examined. A goodly amount of light can only enhance properly supported opinions. Of course, a little amount of sunshine does the same for the opposite opinion.

But, when one is seeking the truth, a little sunshine on the topic is welcomed by any right-minded participate in the process. In fact, I would be suspect of any individual who found fault with the above process. It would immediately give me pause and say to myself, “What are they hiding?”

One question would be very illumining; “If the State was not offering such money to an urban medical health care program, would the city of Utica even be contemplating such a move? Where is the city gong to obtain the other 5, 6, 7, million that will be needed beyond the State’s paltry $300,000,000?

Email: Joseph P. Bottini, Oneida County Historian

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No Studies, No Reports, thus we remain #NoHospitalDowntown