GRE ARGUMENT 203

TOPIC: ARGUMENT203 – The following appeared in a newspaper feature story.

“At the small, nonprofit hospital in the town of Saluda, the average length of a patient’s stay is two days; at the large, for-profit hospital in the nearby city of Megaville, the average patient stay is six days. Also, the cure rate among patients in the Saluda hospital is about twice that of the Megaville hospital. The Saluda hospital has more employees per patient than the hospital in Megaville, and there are few complaints about service at the local hospital. Such data indicate that treatment in smaller, nonprofit hospitals is more economical and of better quality than treatment in larger, for-profit hospitals.”
WORDS: 509? ?? ?? ? TIME: 00:29:59? ?? ?? ? DATE: 2007-9-6 10:11:04

The author, in the material, draws the conclusion that the smaller, nonprofit hospital in Saluda offer better quality treatment than the larger, for-profit hospital in the nearby city of Megaville. The argument is problematic in several aspects, thus render it unconvincing as it stands.

First of all, the fact that the average length of a patient’s stay in Saluda hostital is shorter than that in Megaville hostital lend little support to the conclusion that the formmer has the better quality than the latter. First, the small, nonprofit hostpital in Saluda, perhaps has relatively poor treatment condition, such as less beds than the large, for-profit hospital. This makes them have to permit the patient leave the hospital a little earlier before they recover completely and give the patient a treatment in their home in order to have the available beds for the urgent patients. Second, even the Saluda hosptial share the same treatment condition with the Megaville hosptial, it is highly possible the two hospitals have different standards which decide when the patient can leave the hospital, the Megaville hosptial’s standards is more strict than Saluda’s.?

In addition, the information that the cure rate among patients in the Saluda hospital is about twice that of the Megaville hosptial prove nothing about formmer’s better quality. Because patients who select a small nonprofit are likely to be those who has less severe disease while Megaville hosptial are likely to receive the patients who suffer from relatively serious disease. This make it is harder for the patients of Megaville hosptial to recover completely, even though they have offered the excellent treatment. Some patient in Megaville hosptial who might suffer from the disease that has not found an effecive treatment in th world.

Then, consider the fact that Saluda hospital has more employees per patient than Megaville hosptial, which is insufficient to support the final conclusion that the Saluda hospital has better quality treatment. Because number of staff has little relationship with the treatment they offered. Perhaps the employees in the Megaville hosptial have better education background and more experience than their counterparts in Saluda hospital, which make them more effective and can offer beter treatment accordingly.

Fianlly, even the factors mentioned above is comparable in two hospitals, the few complaints about service at Saluda hospital than that at Megaville hosptial does not prove that the former’s treatment quality is better. First, it is entirely possible the patient in small, nonprofit hospital have lower expectation than those in large, for-profit hospital. Second, the large, for-profit hosptital are more opent to receive the complaints than the small, nonprofit hospital.

In sum, to convince that the smaller, nonprofits hospital offers better treatment than larger, for-profit hospital, the author need to provide evidence that the two hospitals have the same treatment condition and the diseases of patients in the two hospitals are comparable. To better assess the argument, I need the evidence that the number of staff can reflect their quality of treatment and the patients evalute the service of the two hospital upon the same standard.

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