Did 'opportunity' arise from backlash?

(BGH president and CEO Tony Weeks is now talking about opportunities to save the maternity ward. {Photo by Darcy Cheek})

Journalism is still an evidence-based practice, so barring any hard evidence that an alleged event actually happened, one must allow the benefit of the doubt.

Since I have no hard evidence, in the form or recordings or multiple references, that BGH administrators ever held the closure of the maternal-child unit over staff's head as a Sword of Damocles, I must give the benefit of the doubt to those administrators when they tell me this threat was never made.

If one wants to deduce certain things from the facts one does have, that is speculation, which belongs not in news stores, but... well, blogs like this one.

The facts laid out before us in the past week offer plenty of material for deduction and speculation.

And the one line of speculation that seems most favourable to those facts goes like this: BGH administrators, pointing to the current $600,000 shortfall in the maternal-child unit's operations, went to the medical staff and brought up the possibility of closing the unit, perhaps not as a threat (benefit of the doubt, yet again) but a catastrophic end-point the staffers could help avoid through some sacrifice.

In brief, they tried to put the fear of God into staffers, and instead put the fear of closure all over social and traditional media.

The result was a backlash, given increased weight by Leeds-Grenville MPP Steve Clark's involvement, followed by a step-down on BGH management's part, to the extent that, in today's letter to the editor, the talk is about an “opportunity to run the maternal child program at a lower cost without impacting quality and safe care.”

I could be wrong, of course, but if that “opportunity” existed a week ago, why did anyone have to be frightened, especially in an age when fright begins as a sudden rush to the heart, then flows through the fingers onto Facebook?

Or could it be that the public backlash is what made that “opportunity” more visible to those who needed to see it?

If that is the case, it's all the more reason to make the entire discussion about the future of BGH programs an open and public process.

That way, all the facts would be in front of the taxpayers footing the bill, and there would be no need for speculation.