LATELY I SEEM TO BE LIVING UP TO MY ROLE as the “crusty curmudgeon.”
The opinions and commentaries I contributed to these pages in recent issues of THE DARK REPORT triggered a considerable number of letters and feedback from our clients and regular readers.
In particular, my observations about “Why There’s Bad Blood Against the National Labs” in the January 20th issue seemed to resonate with a great number of our readers. Among my comments was an anecdote about the lack of professional cooperation among two competing labs in a Southern city. The point was to illustrate why many in the laboratory profession hold the nation’s largest public lab companies in such low esteem. Too often, it is the public lab companies’ own actions and decisions in the marketplace which put them at odds with their professional colleagues.
But why did my observations trigger so much feedback from our readers? More than a few chose to respond. We heard numerous examples of egregious behavior in their city by laboratory competitors. We also heard plenty from laboratorians who wanted to tell us that they are disappointed that some of the nation’s most influential laboratory organizations have been co-opted by the need to deliver earnings and profits to Wall Street.
In sifting through these comments, I spotted a common theme: integrity! At the heart of each response was a sense that some of our industry-leading enterprises have lost moral fiber. The drive to boost profits was encouraging expedience. Too often, the consequences of decisions by a few ended by adversely affecting the entire laboratory profession.
I found it refreshing to learn that so many of our laboratory leaders remain committed to integrity in all levels of business and personal life. At a time when our religious institutions are under siege and traditional values are ridiculed, it is inspiring to hear from lab executives and pathologists who believe it is possible to build a profitable lab business without sacrificing integrity.
More importantly, I suggest that the need for integrity has never disappeared. In the daily decisions each of us make about which company’s product or service to buy, trust and integrity continue to play a key role. That is particularly true of the lab industry, where patients and physicians alike place a life-or-death trust in the integrity of our laboratory test results