A Letter About Defective Water Fountains In a Hospital Emergency Room

This is the actual letter Mike hand carried to a hospital administrator’s office 8-04-2014. Amazingly, the unsanitary water fountains remained that way until at least 10-10-2014 (when Mike last checked on them). Meanwhile, Mike continues to focus on the most disturbing “big picture”. He is making contact with media experts, government officials and others concerning this unsanitary situation.
People need to focus properly. There is a problem with the system. The EPA, the CDC and others are out of focus.
Mike is new to Twitter, but, if you can follow him, re-tweet or do what ever you can to help, maybe we can get the right people to focus on details and focus on the big picture.

To the administrator and to whom it might concern:
Beginning when I was a child, my mother always told me to be a “good soldier”.
In my attempt to be a good soldier, I hope to get you to focus on some important challenges at your establishment. I hope I can get you to focus properly on important fine details and probably more importantly, the whole picture.
Working as a plumber for more than forty years has helped me appreciate the important part sanitary plumbing plays in health care. I noticed a dangerously unhealthy problem at the xxxxxxxxxxxxxx Emergency room. As I recovered from my recent medical crisis, I tried to think about how my Mom would want me to handle this important issue. First I thought of calling and telling someone, then, I thought of the big picture and how Mom always said “think ahead”.
I hope I don’t seem “long winded” I am just trying to think ahead. I am trying to get you to fix the problem I saw-but-probably more importantly fix the big problem.
I have important comments to make. They are designed to inform and convince.
First, I want to thank you, your staff, nurses and doctors. Your Emergency rooms at xxxxxxxx and more recently in xxxxxxxxxxxxxx have probably saved my life on three occasions. Over the past five years, I have had three severe allergy attacks (Anaphylaxis). This letter is about my visit August 1, 2014 at about 11: PM…
I noticed both of your water fountains in the xxxxxxxxxxxx Emergency Room are dangerously unsanitary. The one to the left is adjusted so the water is barely coming out. Most people probably have to touch their lips on the nozzle to get water. The fountain on the right is also adjusted dangerously incorrectly. The water on that one squirts directly against the mouth guard. Most people will have to press their lips on the mouth guard to drink water. Even people that use a face mask to protect themselves and others are in danger of contracting or spreading dangerous living organisms when they use these water fountains located where the sickliest people arrive.
I beg you to focus on details concerning these fine details and the big picture.
In my humble opinion, you should:
1. Read this entire letter.
2. Go immediately down to the emergency room and exam the water fountains.
3. Exam all water fountains in both hospitals and probably the whole campus.
4. Have your engineers or other trustworthy workers properly adjust, inspect and maintain all fountains and other plumbing.
5. Appoint a trustworthy person in charge of sanitation.
I base my humble opinions on my plumbing and military experience.
General William Westmoreland taught me an important lesson in 1971. The good general began yelling at my best friend because of a sanitation problem. My friend sported an unsanitary mustache. Gen. Westmoreland provided clear guidelines that required that no hair could cover any part of the lip. When the general saw my friend’s unsanitary mustache, he began yelling. First, he yelled at my friend; “I don’t blame you, soldier”; then he turned and pointed to the Company Commander, the Battalion Commander and the Brigade Commander. As he pointed, he yelled; “I blame you, and you, and you for not following my guidelines”. General Westmoreland taught me that you have to focus on fine details and the big picture. [Note: The next day every mustache at Fort Wainwright was neatly trimmed even shorter than the general’s guidelines.]
The administrator for the Smithsonian Institute Department of Food Services taught me an important lesson as I did plumbing in the National Air and Space Museum. John G. (I am not sure how to spell his last name so I will use the G.) was a multi-award winning administrator at the University of Maryland Department of Food Services and he ended up as the Smithsonian administrator. He supervised the space museum in the early 1980s. Under his administration, the space museum cafeteria, served more food and did more daily business than any other individual food service in the United States.
As I noticed John cleaning, cooking, working the cash register, and just about every job required to operate the food service, I always wondered why. So, one day I said; “John, you are supposed to supervise, why do you do all this hard work?” He said; “So I know how to tell them to do it.”
John made me think of General Westmoreland. Once again, I saw how important it was to focus on fine details as you focus on the whole picture.
So, as I try to be a good soldier, for better or for worse, I have attempted to convince you to please focus on the water fountains and the big picture.
Sincerely, Michael Quick 8-4-2014

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