When I arrived at work on Wednesday I was surprised to see a flag flying at half mast. Not surprised at the sign of respect for the victims of the Manchester bombing but surprised that we had a flag and a flagpole!
I couldn’t help but speculate on the chain of command for raising the flag. Asking around we concluded that the porters were probably in charge of the flag, it’s storage, maintenance and errection. But did they also decide when to put the flag up? Apparently the other time the flag goes up at half mast is if someone who works here dies in service.
I can imagine that our porters, who know everyone in the hospital, would be the kind of people who know and care about what happens to staff and would take responsibility for the flag but in these days of corporate image would they be allowed this kind of power? Does our CEO even know that we have a flag? Or is the flying of the flag carefully controlled by the communications department?
So hot on the heels of the cyber attack we have the terrorist attack. We are far enough away from Manchester not to receive any casualties, but close enough for local people to have been at the concert.
The good things to come out of these events have been the way that people have pulled together and cared for others.
In my hospital, the cyber attack didn’t lead to cancelled activity, 90% of the time if people could put up with a bit of waiting around and inefficiency we worked around the loss of IT. Our whole IT department worked around the clock over the weekend, replacing hard drives on computers and setting them all up again ( we have 7,000 staff and everyone uses a computer for something). However, quite a lot of valuable information has been lost it terms of letters that had been dictated and that were waiting to be typed. Fortunately, my secretary is a superstar and keeps up to date with the typing so I have just had a handful of letters to do (and fortunately remembered most of the patients) but other departments may have potentially lost hundreds of letters.
In Manchester the public pulled together to help the victims of the attack, driving people home, bringing food and water, giving blood. There is very much a spirit of everyone pulling together and closing ranks against terrorism, against people who want to destroy peace, love and communnity.
Once again I am in awe of the resilience and spirit of the ordinary human being. How all our little tiny acts of love and kindness that we give to others can add up to something great. And the greatness is part of us all.