Friday, February 19, 2010

The alien and the administrator

“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know that I am mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “ or you wouldn’t have come here.”
-Lewis Carroll

Thanks to the Gardner Report for the premise:

Imagine a strange alien from Planet Mars, intelligent but unfamiliar with our ways, walks into a hospital and starts a conversation with the Administrator.

“Greetings! I am new here, what happens in this fine institution?” asked the Space Traveler. The Administrator explains that people who are disabled by illness or injury come here for skilled examinations and judgments to determine PRECISELY what is wrong.

“This often requires great delicacy and wisdom to combat the disability.” Said the Administrator. “Wowzers!” Exclaims the Alien, ” And as the Administrator, the man in charge here, you make all the judgments and order these procedures yourself?”

“Uhh, No,” replied the Administrator, “That is the function of people we call Physicians, who qualify for these roles by long periods of intensive training and observation.”

The Alien visitor stated, “I see, the Physician then, must make many decisions that determine how your resources are used and what work your people do.”

If anything, the Physican also decides which patients to admit and when to dismiss them, thought the Administrator. “So, these Physicians,” said the Alien, “ where do these important people stand in your organization?”

Administrator-“Actually, they stand outside the organization, they are engaged and paid by our customers and a 3rd party, but they must observe our organizational rule and we, by tradition, must not interfere or seek to influence their decisions, and they must pay to insure themselves from lawsuits from those they serve.”

“But you must be joking!” said the Alien, “As anyone can plainly see, such an arrangement would be impossible to manage.”

The Administrator acknowledged it wasn’t easy as the Alien left it said. “Impossible!”

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