Malpractice: Gastonia hospital name change sparks high school-style vengeance tactics

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The people of Gastonia really care about the name of their hospital, y'all.

When CaroMont Health announced Thursday it was changing the name of Gaston Memorial Hospital to the equally bland "CaroMont Regional Medical Center," all hell broke loose.

Apparently the "Memorial" in the former name was to honor World War II veterans, and county commissioners will not stand for the name change of dishonor! Never mind spending any time/effort actually helping today's veterans, they will take up the cause of "honoring" those of yesteryear with a nondescript word in a hospital name no one pays attention to.

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Unfortunately for them, they don't have much say in the matter, as the hospital is privately owned. So what to do? Oh, I don't know, how about have a press conference on the steps of the courthouse on Friday to whine about it to the media?

That wasn't enough for one Gaston County commissioner, though. Vice Chairman Tracy Philbeck of Dallas decided to cross the line into bullying and intimidation territory by publishing on his Facebook page the home addresses, cell and home phone numbers and personal email addresses of every individual sitting on the hospital board of trustees. He even encouraged his followers to share the information.

He defended this move, saying the what he published is public record. Given the hospital is privately owned, that's not entirely true. You know what is a matter of public record, though? Philbeck's home address. Interestingly enough, its not published anywhere. There is only a P.O. Box listed, perhaps because he doesn't want some crazy showing up at his house because they got all bent out of shape over a minor decision he made.

Furthering the comedy of this situation is the hysterically ill-advised new tagline CaroMont proposed for the hospital - "Cheat Death." It was to be incorporated into a county-wide wellness campaign. Alas, Gastonians are not fans of edgy marketing, or "wellness," really, with a health ranking of 81st out of 100 counties in the state, so the tag line was dropped over the weekend to stem the tide of public backlash.

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