In the SCMP’s letters page, there was an interesting premise: “Hospital staff need to learn common sense”. This is rather like closing the stable door once the horse has bolted … only the door is probably so ridden with huge gaping holes that it is little wonder the horse escaped in the first place!!
The premise is wishing thinking. Once people reach adulthood, their brains’ wiring is pretty much fixed on certain pathways of cognition and “reasoning”. It is extremely difficult to unlearn this and to learn some “common sense” if it has not already been instilled. This is why it is extremely difficult to teach old dogs new tricks. Besides, what is “common sense” to one person may not be so “obvious” to another.
Teaching people at a young age (i.e. at school) critical thinking skills is the best solution. The next best solution is for employers (in this case, the Hospital Authority and/or the HKSAR Government) to test job applicants and assess all current employees on their reasoning skills. This will at least help to filter out those who are just plain stupid or lazy to think and act appropriately in real time. Unfortunately, this will never happen.
Reference (SCMP; subscription required)
Hospital staff need to learn common sense
Sep 26, 2009
I was puzzled by the comments of the Hospital Authority chief on another blunder by Caritas Medical Centre staff regarding the treatment of a seven-year-old boy with an eye injury (“Hospitals chief defends Caritas staff member”, September 21).
Shane Solomon said that “what the clerk was doing was to implement the policy”.
One would have expected that further to the blunder in December of last year (when a man collapsed with a heart attack outside Caritas Medical Centre and later died), instead of reviewing policies and procedures and probably implementing new ones, the authority would have tried to promote the concept of common sense with its staff.
What kind of place are we living in when it is fine to simply “implement the policy” for HK$700 without caring for a seven-year-old boy?
Any patient has the right to expect Hospital Authority staff, of whatever the rank, from receptionist to neurosurgeon, to be equipped with some common sense and a conviction that they are paid by the public to help and care for the public.
At the very least, if they feel that they are not in a position to bend the rules for a good cause, they should call a supervisor who hopefully will be able to make a correct decision.
Raphael Blot, Sai Kung