Kudos And Caution For Hospital Takeovers

In "Balance sheets that get well soon" (The Corporation, Sept. 4), you seem to give every reason for Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp.'s success except one: excellent customer service. Recently, my wife was afflicted with terrible abdominal pain on a Saturday evening. Experience had told us that, if we were to visit our nonprofit local-community hospital, we could expect a wait of at least an hour and probably more. Needing immediate attention, we turned to the emergency room at Columbia Doctor's Hospital. We arrived at 7 p.m. By 7:15 p.m., my wife had been seen by her physician, had her blood drawn, and had been advised that an appendectomy was in order. The anesthesiologist and surgeon were summoned from home, and within 30 minutes she was in the operating-prep area. During the whole process, I was dumbfounded by the courtesy, speed, and efficiency of the staff.

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