I put a lot of stock in word of mouth, especially when the words come from people whose opinions I respect.
When I was looking for a place to settle near my then place of work in Rock Hill, word of mouth, especially about the excellent school system, led us to choose Fort Mill. We’ve loved it here. When I asked where I should go if I needed medical care, there was no consensus answer of where to go, just a consistent reply on where not to go.
Unless I was having a baby, I was told to avoid Piedmont Medical Center at all costs. In fact, I was even advised that if one of their speedy ambulances ever have to pick me up, I was to order them to take me anywhere else but Piedmont because otherwise that’s where I’d end up, even if it wasn’t the closest choice.
The thing about word of mouth is that it can’t be quantified. I mean, tons of people pile into Applebee’s each day, but word from my peeps is that it isn’t very good. Trying it way too many times with mediocre results confirms that view, at least for me. And that’s what this is, a personal opinion.
Being an opinion columnist – and a person – I’m entitled to that. I have no bone to pick with Piedmont, other than the overzealous nature of their ambulance crews (if what I heard about them always trying to beat local rescue squads to the scene is true). But I sure know I’ll never want to use their services. Frankly, I don’t want to ever have use any hospital’s services if it can be avoided.
Piedmont has the upper hand in building a hospital in Fort Mill, in great part due to the argument that Piedmont would suffer grievous financial hardship if a competitive hospital came to town. By my logic, if a hospital has good word of mouth, it shouldn’t be concerned about losing business. Most people I know want to get the best care they possibly can. If a hospital is worried about losing patients, perhaps it needs to look in the mirror and possibly address any issues that could give rise to persistent rumors about the level of care it provides.
They are using the old “Field of Dreams” mantra – build it and they will come. That might work for a ballpark, but for a hospital? I don’t want to default to a place when my life is on the line simply because of geography. I want to have peace of mind I will get the best care possible.
I doubt that the real truth is that Piedmont provides sub-standard care, but when word of mouth comes from more than just a vocal few, I tend to worry. I can avoid Applebee’s, but when I’m unconscious and on the brink of death, I’m reliant on fate. I’d rather rely on great medical care.
This is one time I hope word of mouth is full of lies.
You can reach Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org to clock ambulance responses.