Floyd Medical Center Straightforward

In Troubled Times, We Love

Posted by Kurt Stuenkel, President and CEO
November 14, 2018

Sometimes you have to wonder, can the news get any worse? On the one hand, it is natural disasters bringing death and destruction, like the hurricanes that recently hit South Carolina and Florida, or the wildfires that are attacking California. People have lost their homes, some, their lives, and entire communities are devastated. Closer to home for us, the two hospitals in Panama City were severely damaged by the hurricane and are struggling to resume their work.

Then, there are the man-made disasters of mass shootings. People were going about their daily lives, most recently either in worship or at a party, when a gunman entered with murderous intent and scores were killed. At one moment individuals were worshiping or dancing, and the next, they were victims of deadly assault. In the very same California community where one shooting occurred, wildfires raged. And, at the party there were people present who had escaped the mass shooting in Las Vegas only to be a part of one more mad killing spree.

It is overwhelming, even for those of us who are not directly touched or involved. How do we make sense of such randomness, and randomness that brings death and destruction?

I don’t pretend to know the answers. But in such times, I am reminded of Jesus. In his time on earth he suffered and was himself killed. In his ministry he was often overcome with the enormity of human suffering. He was known as a healer, but he frequently withdrew to deal with his own struggles. He prayed with anguish at the Garden of Gethsemane. The shortest verse in the King James Bible is the poignant “Jesus wept.” Jesus also said that “it rains on the just and the unjust” and “the poor will always be with you.” I conclude that if Jesus was troubled by the human condition it is certainly natural for us to be bewildered too. We also know, that despite all that happened to him, Jesus remained faithful to his ministry, out of love, and served the Kingdom of God. The lesson for all of us is the same. No matter what happens, out of love, we continue to serve.

I believe that most all of us in health care are in this line of work because we want to take care of people or help those in need, as I have heard many say when I ask them. We are called by love. It is important to remember that when things get overwhelming.

I hesitated to write this blog and worried that it might be a bit too religious. Floyd does not have a religious affiliation nor do we emphasize or promote any religious beliefs. However, we recognize spirituality, and in fact, the Joint Commission of the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations requires that we address the spiritual needs of our patients. We have a chaplain and volunteer clergy who assist him. We recognize that there are people of many faiths in our community. Obviously, my message comes from my own faith. As such, I offer it and hope it can be helpful. A foundation of most all faith traditions is a belief in love. It is important to remember our faith in such troubled times.

Kurt Stuenkel

About Kurt

Kurt Stuenkel has served as President and CEO of Floyd since 1996. He leads a health care system that includes a 304-bed hospital with a level II trauma center and a level III NICU, a family medicine residency program; a 25-bed critical access hospital; a regional primary care network; urgent care centers; and a hospice program. As CEO, Kurt is faced with the many challenges that come with leading a multi-faceted organization that includes a safety net hospital.

He has written articles for, and is faculty with the American College of Healthcare Executives on the topic of Lean Six Sigma and the 120 day workout methodology, and he frequently hosts visitors who wish to learn about the implementation of these techniques.

Kurt has served as Chairman of the Georgia Hospital Association, the Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals, and VHA Georgia; as a member of the American Hospital Association’s Metropolitan Section and Regional Provider Board; and as a member of the Georgia Trauma Care Network Commission and the Georgia Health Strategies Council.

Under Kurt’s leadership, Floyd has won numerous state and national awards for supply chain, quality, public relations and programmatic excellence, with a focus on culture, performance, new programs and facilities.