The scandal that destroyed a hospital.

On January 12, 2014, there was a massive network outage that paralyzed the operations of Sandbar Groves Medical Center. The usual cause was the antiquated network switches and routers on the verge of permanent burnout. During the outage, the staff at the Information Services department worked furiously hard to bring the network back up, but director Kevin Smith was out after having called in sick that morning. In reality, Smith decided to take a day off and go visit Legoland at Winter Park. His plans would have remained undetected had he not mistakenly texted a picture of himself at the park to assistant manager Charles Moore instead of his private online photo album.

When Moore discovered that Smith went to Legoland instead of reporting to work to sign the purchase orders for the badly needed network upgrade, he went ballistic and then printed a poster-sized enlargement of Smith’s picture for hanging on the office wall for all to see. When Smith returned to work the next day, he realized his mistake and was so humiliated that he promptly went home.

By this time the network had been down for two full days, and tensions were brewing. Nurses could not place electronic orders for patients and had to resort to manual downtime procedures which greatly slowed down the ordering process. To make matters worse, a patient in the intensive care unit died while waiting for medication that could have saved his life. His distraught family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the hospital and named the staff members of the Information Services department as the defendants.

The mounting problems became too much for the hospital administration to bear, and they promptly demanded that Smith resign. A devastated Smith instead committed suicide in his office by placing a jar of instant coffee on his desktop scanner and then running a scan. The resulting explosion left Smith’s skeleton sitting upright in his office chair and the office permanently smelling strongly of coffee.

The lawsuit went on as planned and the hospital lost the case. The deceased patient’s family was awarded millions of dollars and the hospital’s reputation became permanently scarred beyond repair. It soon went out of business and the building was demolished to make way for a trailer home park.

The preceding story is a work of fiction and not based on actual events. Not yet, anyway.

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