Of manatees and antelopes
Outliers’ mother taught us it wasn’t polite to make fun of someone’s name. But sometimes while perusing articles about hospitals across America … well, we just have to wonder: What were they thinking?
We first began to ponder what exactly was going on when we heard about Manatee Memorial Hospital in Bradenton, Fla. (Perhaps, we thought, they just really loved that poor manatee!) But, of course, as with many of the names that have tripped us up, it’s a question of geography that can mystify an outsider. Bradenton lies in Manatee County, of course—and so the name has nothing to do with any particular sea mammal. Although, we have to say, it would make for a swell mascot.
A similar dynamic is at play for Antelope Memorial Hospital in Neligh, Neb., whose home county also inspired its appellation. Again, great mascot potential.
Then there are the hospitals that just aren’t trying, namewise. According to our bible, the AHA Guide for 2010, 16 institutions couldn’t come up with anything better than the minimalist Memorial Hospital. Come on, people! And soap opera fans can pick from two named General Hospital, one in Los Angeles (of course) and the other in Charleston, W.Va. And if you don’t like the city, try Suburban Hospital, in Bethesda, Md. Conversely, there’s City Hospital, for some reason located in rural Martinsburg, W.Va. Then there’s Medicine Lodge (Kan.) Memorial Hospital. Sleepy Eye (Minn.) Medical Center, of course, isn’t named for a medical condition, but for a long-ago chief of a local Native American tribe.
At least one name conjures up thriftiness—but then Lower Bucks Hospital in Bristol, Pa., filed for bankruptcy early this year. Again, geography plays a role here, as it’s in Bucks County; but we bet the business office didn’t come up with that name. And if you get a bill from the Billings (Mont.) Clinic, are you really surprised?