Mulling over the Stephen’s fiasco
Mail from Dr Jamila Thomas, who was terminated from service – possibly as she was assisting Dr Jacob Puliyel during his enquiry
When a Board is appointed, should members unquestioningly back up the management of the institution, or are they to serve, as a Board, as checks and balances to the Director/CEO, to prevent mismanagement, disallow poor decisions, point out mistakes, restrain excesses, ask penetrating and relevant questions, and hold the management accountable to answer? Obviously the latter, but its horrifying how sometimes Board members see themselves only as cheerleaders for the management. Dr. Bimal Charles’ letter is illustrative, (See Page 1 and Page 2 and the response of Dr Jacob Puliyel) and was a huge disappointment to me.
His letter brings up the issue of redressal mechanisms for grievances. Our institutions are generally poor at this, and when the complaint is against the leader of the institution, redressal breaks down completely – as we have seen. What Jacob did was the right thing.There was a perceived problem – the eroding ethos of the hospital, over several months, culminating in the Director’s termination of a well-loved doctor, without adequate cause, possibly vindictively. Jacob approached a member of the Board – Dr. Bimal Charles – and discussed the matter with him. This was technically, and morally, the right thing to do. Bimal Charles’ response, as a Board member ought to have been to listen courteously and then take the matter up with the management, instead he writes that he gave Jacob a lecture on how well doctors are paid in St. Stephen’s and how good their life is, and basically suggested that he keep quiet, enjoy the perks, do his clinical work, and leave the administration to the “leader”. He then reported the matter to the Director, presenting Jacob’s grievance as a conspiracy theory, an attempt to ‘topple” the Director.He is now being used as the star witness to “prove” Dr. Jacob’s “mis-conduct”.
Can be justified as the correct Christian response?
May God give us all wisdom as we grapple with these and other issues that are troubling our various institutions. May He also forgive us for the way we seem to mess up so much of the time.