Tuesday, June 7, 2011


One of my favorite moments in political history was during the Nixon Administration, when an obscure Federal Judge named Harrold Carswell was nominated to the Supreme Court. In defense against charges that Carswell was "mediocre", Senator Roman Hruska of Nebraska (Republican, Nebraska) stated:

"Even if he were mediocre, there are a lot of mediocre judges and people and lawyers. They are entitled to a little representation, aren't they? We can't have all Brandeises, Frankfurters and Cardozos."

Given how our standards for public life have fallen in the past forty years, I suspect Judge Carswell would have an easier time of it today, at least as long as he believed whatever the current Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee believed about abortion. But there was a nugget of truth in the good Senator’s statement. Given that a few of us are geniuses, a few are total duds, and most of us lie somewhere in the middle, perhaps we’d all be happier if we strove for the median instead of the top?

We’ve actually discussed this late at night in the ER, and we’ve come up with the following potential morale-building internal slogans:

“Striving for Mediocrity”
“Defining Adequecy.”
“We Aim for the Middle.”
“At Least We’re Better Than Jetmore.”

I think there are lots of advantages to this kind if system. First, as we are a pretty decent hospital, we’re sure to meet our goals. There’s satisfaction in that. In addition, we know that third party payers and government agencies are always looking for outliers, and cast their investigative net accordingly. Being average lets you fly under their view. Finally, it’s the kind of thing that everyone can buy into, because we really are better than Jetmore. We think.

No comments:

Post a Comment