About Amy Umble:
Amy Umble is health reporter for The Free Lance-Star
Yes, I love to stir the pot
I’d like to answer a couple of questions that readers asked in response to Monday’s post about Sentara and whether the Norfolk hospital chain might be interested in taking over Mary Washington Healthcare. On Monday, an anonymous commenter asked, “Jim, were you a former patient? Do you have a grudge? I’ve noticed you like to stir the pot. That stew of yours has a rancid odor.”
The commenter is absolutely right about one thing: I am a lousy cook. To me, stew is something made by that famous Southern chef Dinty Moore. When I’m on my own, dinner usually involves a trek to the salad bar at Giant.
To answer the other part of the question: No, I don’t bear a grudge. At least I’m not aware of it if I do. I certainly don’t have any reason to be angry at anyone. I have never been a patient at Mary Washington Hospital, Stafford Hospital or the Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center. My sons have been patients at Mary Washington several times, and each time I was pleased with the care they received. No family member has ever been a patient at the Stafford or Spotsylvania hospitals. I respect greatly many of the people I have met at all three hospitals. In fact they have inspired me to think of health care, at least the clinical side of it, as a possible encore career.
As for stirring the pot: I am not a publicist for either hospital company. It is not my job to show them in their best light. I am not paid by them, nor do I have any advisory position with them. I am a newspaper reporter, plain and simple. My job, as I see it, is like the umpire at the baseball game, to call it as I see it.
I’m happy to report on items that the local hospitals are proud of. I’ve noticed that both Mary Washington and Spotsylvania Regional often link to this blog or to my stories on their Facebook pages. They wouldn’t do that if the stories cast them in a negative light. I’m fine with that. I write to be read.
But my bosses, and perhaps many readers, also expect me to report on those items that the hospitals would just as soon not be public. As the saying goes, news is what they don’t want you to know. Everything else is publicity. If that is stirring the pot, I plead guilty.