Sense - Chapter 18
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A/N: I decided to change the term for the director of the hospital to ‘dean’ and vice president to ‘vice dean’ as they seem more appropriate. I’m going over the previous chapters to change them but if I missed any, please let me know.
《JBN 12 Headline》
“……Dean Shin Yae Seung has received criticism over how he has operated the hospital without taking any measures and ignoring loss. And today, using his position as the hospital dean, he took care of his own interests and disappeared, revealing his true intentions. This was Reporter Lee Byung-ho.”
-Myeong Sae University Hospital, a major hospital visited by 2 million people a year, has a chronic deficit and is the only one among the Big 5 to receive a financial risk advisory from the Ministry of Health and Welfare.
This was Hospital Dean Shin who had argued that one should not be obsessed with profits in the name of public health care although there was a whooping ₩46.7 billion in the third quarter.
He who had said such a thing was discovered by financial authorities to have taken a public security loan of ₩3 billion and so the prosecution had launched an investigation.
For more details, the prosecutor in charge of the Seoul Central District Prosecutor’s Office….
Everyone who had been eating in the cafeteria stopped eating and fixed their gazes on the news shown on the TV.
Seong Chang Soo, who had his mouth open for a long time, asked Dowook.
“What does that mean? The hospital dean took ₩ 3 billion and ran? What about my bonus?”
“If we’re being specific, he took a loan so it’s the bank’s money, not your bonus.”
“Is that important right now!”
At the same time, those who were sitting in shock received a message.
[Medical School Auditorium. 2 PM. All employees except for essential medical personnel.]
It was a pretty alarming message.
Dowook shoved the tonkatsu left on his plate into his mouth and stood up.
Through the wide-open doors of the auditorium, numerous people could be seen.
The auditorium, which could hold 300 people, was filled with twice that number.
‘Finding a seat will be difficult.’
Dowook gave up on reaching the front. As he simply leaned on the wall of the auditorium, the key faculty members of the hospital entered and sat in the front seats one after the other. Chief Ha Sang Joong was one of them.
He stretched out his neck to see if Choi Hoo was there, but the vice-dean Bae Ji-man, who’d sent the message to everyone, climbed onto the podium.
Approaching the mic, he started to talk about the circumstance that everyone was wondering about right away.
“It is true that the director took a personal loan from the bank. It is also true that he is currently abroad.”
When the vice-dean acknowledged the news report, gasps could be heard like a wave inside the auditorium.
Some of the center directors, who were known to be close to the dean, looked at each other as if they had been struck by lightning.
A loud voice rang out from among the professors.
-How could such a thing happen? How can someone use the hospital’s finances like it’s their own?
-Unbelievable. What has the school foundation been doing? How would others look at our hospital?
As Dowook was waiting for the vice dean’s answer, he looked at his phone to check the message he’d just received.
[The patient in Rm. 2007 says she has to move, is there anything we should be careful about?]
It was from the VIP ward. The attending physician for Lim So Yool after her surgery unintentionally became the one who had operated on her.
‘Is she feeling stifled?’
Unable to make a call, he sent a message to the attending nurse.
[Only 30 minutes with a nurse’s help. Not more than that. Don’t remove the intravenous line. Please also take care of the guard.]
“Why is everyone acting so restlessly? I haven’t finished speaking yet.”
The vice-dean gestured to the professors to keep their calm.
“I didn’t call everyone here to complain about the dean. Everyone, please read the contents of this first.”
At the vice dean’s signal, the screen in the auditorium lit up.
[Agenda for the 7th Board of Directors: Emergency Management System]
[30% reduction in elective treatment allowance. 15% reduction in departmental expenses. 5% reduction in total labor costs.]
Then Dowook’s eyes widened at the information revealed.
“Last week, the board of directors tried to declare an emergency management system using the deficit problem as an excuse. The gist of it was to cut down on everyone’s wages. The dean vetoed the plan. The reason he went abroad was to forcefully postpone the next board meeting.”
Everyone fell into confusion as they heard facts that were totally different from the news.
“The dean sought various ways to solve the irrational financial structure of the hospital. ₩3 billion was the minimum cost predicted to be spent for this. Because his policy differed from the board of directors, he used his personal funds. He did it even if people would misunderstand it as an illegal slush fund.”
The angry professors forgot what they were about to say, and the center directors close to the dean nodded their heads in understanding.
“I also support the director’s thoughts. We can’t simply ignore the fiscal deficit or the low number of treatments forever. We are doctors. Not businessmen.”
Chief Ha held up his hand and agreed with the vice president’s opinion.
Dowook looked around the auditorium surprised at the turn of events when his phone rang again. He looked down to check the new message.
It was from Seong Chang Soo who stayed at the emergency department as essential medical personnel.
[How are things going? What about my bonus?]
[It’s a bit complicated. The director vetoed the board of directors’ plan to cut everyone’s wages. Then he borrowed the ₩3 billion to ……]
-Then how is he planning to use the ₩3 billion?
“The use of the money will be left to the newly hired special consultant. We have brought them here so let’s listen to them for a moment.”
Trying to summarize these events into a message, Dowook saw a person appear from the back of the podium and froze.
Sitting in a wheelchair, Lim So Yool came up to the podium with her secretary and a nurse. As instructed she had a neck guard wrapped around her neck and an intravenous pole beside her.
[…….they gave it to my patient.]
Inside the suddenly silent auditorium.
The audience’s eyes all gathered on the young lady wearing a patient’s gown with a pale face.
Lim So Yool looked at the curious people with clear eyes.
“I am ZQ investment group’s financial consultant, Lim So Yool. This time, at the request of the vice president, I looked through the accounting data of Myeong Sae Hospital.”
The calm and confident voice rang through the auditorium. It was a voice that made the people whisper, ‘Why is a patient there?’ automatically stop their conversations and focus.
“The board of directors took profits by exaggerating numbers under the pretext of business expansion. The medical staff was desperate to raise their respective wages. The numbers were quite selfish, on all sides.”
Seeing her criticize the management and staff from the beginning, the vice-dean who put her in position was slightly embarrassed.
“Just like how a doctor diagnoses a patient, I have analyzed numerous financial groups. Myeong Sae Hospital’s finances are currently extremely unhealthy. If the situation continues, restructuring is inevitable.”
Confusion ran through the 600+ people in the room. A professor in front of the room asked in a fit of rage.
-Restructuring? Does that mean doctors should be blamed for the mismanagement of the hospital?
Some professors nearby agreed to the statement and spoke in a loud voice.
-We’re selfish? What did we do wrong?
-What’s the difference between restructuring and the emergency management system? No, isn’t it worse?
Lim So Yool silently watched the protesting professors and turned to the vice-dean. As her next words would be sensitive and direct, the consent of the client was required.
The vice-dean, who met her eyes, looked troubled as he nodded his head. Letting her do as she wanted.
Pulling the mic gently so it was closer to her, Lim So Yool gazed straight at the professors sharply.
“Excuse me, but what is your name and department in the hospital?”
-I’m Song Chil-sung, the chief of the nephrology department.
The papers she had scanned last night passed through her mind like a panorama. Then it stopped at one part of the memory.
The total deficit in the nephrology department. Among them, labor costs accounted for the largest share. Song Chil-sung, with an annual salary of ₩203,531,878, ranked first in personnel expenses.
“Yes, Chief Song Chil-sung. You are contributing to the profits of the hospital through outpatient activities called consultations 4 times a week, but the average daily income is only ₩430,000. The average wage paid to personnel in a managerial position at the hospital is ₩565,000. You are incurring a loss of ₩ 49,275,000 per year.”
Chief Song, whose face felt hot at the straightforward talk of numbers, refuted her words.
-That is a typical armchair argument from someone who doesn’t know the inner workings of a hospital. Do you think the chief of a department has only one thing they do? There are so many things we have to take care of. For example…..
“For example, an activity that earned you ₩13.85 million in incentives by replacing a diuretic supplier with Seongmun Pharmaceutical?”
[TN: Diuretics are medicines and pills that increase the amount of urine produced.]
Numbers that were suddenly thrown out. Chief Song was taken aback.
“You have received an incentive of ₩100,932,304 for giving permission to use Amaril, Kelcord, and Relepac from the same company. The hospital has only received a profit of ₩9,893,060 so far with a slightly lowered supply price. Who do you think is more selfish here?”
Chief Song wasn’t able to reply as he paled visibly. The internal section chiefs around him gazed at him with a look saying, ‘that’s a bit too much,’ and he was unable to find a place to look at so he kept his head bowed.
“Restructuring is not the same as getting laid off. Normalizing this irrational financial flow is one of the adjustments. Is there anyone else unable to understand this idea?”
Lim So Yool’s gaze headed toward Chief Song’s colleagues who had also raised their voices. All of them kept their mouths shut for fear their dirty laundry might be aired.
“Are there no more?”
At the repetition, the professors were busy avoiding eye contact.
“Then I’ll start talking about the conclusion. If no further actions are taken, there will be no justification for rejecting the emergency management system brought up by the board of directors. 5% of you will experience forced retirement and 95% of you will experience pay cuts. There are exactly 183 days and 20 hours left until the audit of the Ministry of Health and Welfare begins.”
When she declared Myeong Sae Hospital’s death sentence, the auditorium became so quiet that not a single breath could be heard.
Dowook, who was busy simply going back and forth from the medical office, patient’s wards, and operating room, had no interest in how things were being run in the hospital.
However, if only for today, he had to seriously consider things. This was also a problem for him who was planning to become a full fellow at the hospital starting from next year.
-I have a question for the director.
Chief Ha Sang Joong raised his hand. Lim So Yool nodded her head.
-What kind of suggestions will you be making while consulting?
“While I am still trying to understand the situation, I am certain about this. The hospital’s biggest assets must be increased.”
“Everyone here. That’s the reason patients come here after all. The competitiveness of these tangible assets will soon be beneficial.”
In Lim So Yool’s world, doctors could also be turned into numbers.
“A system in which hard work and sacrifice can be recognized and rewarded will be put in place. Wherein the doctor himself will be motivated to increase their own worth. Values irrelevant to competitiveness such as academic background and personal connections will be excluded and only one’s ability and character will be considered…..”
There was confidence in Lim So Yool’s voice, who spoke of an unconventional compensation system that sounded impossible to implement in a university hospital.
Inside the auditorium, there were those who expressed doubts saying, ‘will that work?’ and those who seemed interested, ‘Our efforts will be rewarded?’
Dowook was of course part of the latter. In her world of numbers, negative values such as errors and deception did not exist.
“The 30 minutes permitted by my attending physician is almost over. I will gradually notify everyone of the full plan.”
Lim So Yool followed Dowook’s advice to the letter and left.
The internal section chiefs who were full of questions to ask her had expressions asking, ‘Who on earth is her attending physician?’ Dowook reflexively stuck his whole body to the auditorium wall.
‘What. It’s not like I committed a sin…… huh?’
At that moment, the special sense’s tingling sensation stimulated Dowook. Dowook looked around his surroundings.
Since it was not in an operating room, he could not know for certain whose senses were passed to him. However, the peculiar confidence in his fingertips was similar to Choi Hoo’s.
Was it from Dr.Bang Jaehyuk who was called the ace of the organ transplant center? Or was it from the rumored talented Min Bo-hoon of the cancer center?
“With this, I would like to conclude this meeting. Departments that lack the required personnel should return to the front line as soon as possible.”
After relaying everything, the vice president left the auditorium.
Leaving the room with the crowd, Dowook’s gaze stayed on his colleagues.
A crisis that had fallen on a general hospital that looked after 2 million patients a year.
The medical staff working at that place.
The sense of someone twinkling like a star at his fingertips seemed to be saying:
Park Dowook. This was a stage made just for you.
sync: genius mathematician’s note-taking skill
action: solve all the problems in the world with numbers. Can’t understand, but that’s what they say.
This translation is presented by Nocturne Translations.
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