No, that’s not a typo. I know, most of us are all too used to hearing Wolf Blitzer tout “breaking news” on CNN every night, with the word “fast” being implicit in this pronouncement. But that’s the point of this article.
You see, Philadelphia’s Hahnemann hospital closed its doors in 2019. Seems that the “investment banker” who owned the hospital thought it wasn’t making enough money, and that was that. This of course raises the question as to whether healthcare is just another business with the primary goal of making money, but that discussion is for another day.
I moved from Philadelphia to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina about a decade ago, and had lost track of the fate of this once important medical institution in the city. I was a researcher on the staff at Hahnemann years ago, and I found its demise neck-snapping. But not nearly as neck-snapping as did the interns and residents whose training was, to put it mildly, interrupted by this closing. Nor the medical staff. Nor the residents of North Philadelphia for whom Hahnemann served as the “safety net” for medical care. Could anything have been done to avoid this eventuality? We’ll never know because the closing simply never got much attention. And that’s the problem!
Bottom Line. The authors of this article make a great point. It’s hard to get people to focus on a complicated and slow-moving health care story like this one when the daily headlines are yelling non-stop about new COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and deaths.
Stand back and think about it. Isn’t this a problem that transcends the closing of Hahnemann? Aren’t many of the most societally important stories so “slow breaking” that they don’t make it into the headlines, and as a result don’t get much attention? Think global warming!
And that’s a problem!