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That's just brilliant by Nick Jacobs

October 1st, 2006

by Nick Jacobs

"That's brilliant."

How many times have you heard that about you or your work? In the past year? In the past ten years? In your life? Now it only counts if you heard it from someone other than yourself, your loved ones, or some very sarcastic, evil person who is trying to make you feel bad?

Well, I've heard it hundreds of times, but, in my mind's eye, it's been a poor choice of adjectives, a misplaced modifier, or a dangling participle without the participle.

The funniest thing about this characterization as it relates to my work and ideas is that, I'm personally about 359 degrees away from brilliant. I graduated number 13 in my high school class and my college efforts were better described as persistent rather than brilliant. That was also the case during both of my graduate degrees and my fellowship work, brilliant was not high on anyone's list of descriptors for me.

Having said that, it is clear to me that my brilliance is beyond description. My accomplishments in the past ten years have been brilliant, but not Forrest Gump's brilliant is as brilliant does, just brilliant from a uniquely positioned perspective, other people's.

On Friday, we banned trans fatty acids from our patient foods. What do you think? Brilliant? It's something that we have been working on for a very long time.

"Windber Medical Center has achieved another first in helping people become healthy and helping them to stay that way."

"Just as most hospitals have banned smoking, we have stopped using products that have trans fats in any of the patient's foods. Trans fats will be removed from all of the hospital's patient menus in addition to making the same healthy food available to hospital employees and visitors. Windber Medical Center will be one of the first, if not the first hospital in the country to make this move."

Well, what do you think? Brilliant? Timely? The right thing to do in our business? How about COMMON SENSE? Of course it's common sense.

So was our decision to offer fat free meals to anyone who wanted them TEN YEARS AGO common sense? Was our decision to offer wellness programs that are available to people of all ages in our area brilliant? Was the end product of our design to make a mammography gown that allowed a woman to have privacy when having her mammogram brilliant? Or were these all examples of Common Sense?

Why is it that doing things like this are referred to as brilliant when, in fact, it's the rest of our world that just doesn't get what we're supposed to be about?

We're supposed to be about caring for our fellow man. No cigarette machines in the lobby. No fast food restaurants in the food court that specialize in trans fats. No visiting restrictions on the people who love you the most if you need the comfort of having them by your side.

Okay, well, this brilliant guy is going to stop typing for a while to allow himself time to think of his next COMMON SENSE idea for some new revolutionary, earth shattering change in health care. (Tony, was that the right healthcare?) Hmmmm, how about this one? Let's let our patients wear pajama bottoms if they want? Oh, sorry, did that already.

By the way, the trans fat idea was someone else's . . . Thanks, Wayne.

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