Now that Harvard Medical School affiliates Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital are merging, some serious questions need to be resolved.
Public debate has focused on the complexities of health care economics, tertiary care and the Boston regional health care system, integrating managed care and managed competition. We think there are more important things at stake: the new mega-hospital's name, for instance.
Brigham and Women's was itself the product of a previous merger, when Peter Bent, Brigham and the Boston Lying-In Hospital joined in hospitable matrimony. Now, hospital leaders must once again confront the perennial problem law firms face: Whose name goes first?
Should this creation be the Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women's Hospital? Or the Brigham and Women's and Massachusetts General Hospital?
Can we mix up the existing order and win a victory for feminism: The Women's Brigham and Massachusetts General Hospital?
But that's a mouthful. We actually prefer some more creative combinations. How about the Brigham Hospital for Women Generals? The Brigadier General Hospital?
It's been noted that Business School Dean John H. McArthur played a pivotal role in the merger. McArthur doesn't have enough power as it is, so how about calling it the John McArthur Hospital? Or, as a consolation prize for Medical School Dean Daniel C. Tosteson '44, who didn't hear about the merger until after it was a done deal, undercutting his plans for a five-hospital merger, we could name it Tosteson Hospital.
But since this whole hospital merger has been such a soap opera, maybe they should just cave in and call it "General Hospital."