Christopher Dougherty

The hidden life of trees — and hospitals

Brattleboro Memorial Hospital’s current financial outlook is under threat. Yet, like our beloved trees, the hospital is coping and adapting by engineering new survival strategies, the hospital CEO writes.

Arguably, our large brains make human beings the most intelligent species on Earth. Yet only now are we coming around to a full scientific, and perhaps even spiritual, appreciation of the deep and interconnected relationship we have with the natural world.

As we learn from Peter Wohlleben's 2016 book The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate-Discoveries from a Secret World, trees are actually smart! And not only do they play an invaluable role in maintaining the health of our planet, they have sophisticated survival strategies and coping mechanisms that are easily overlooked or taken for granted by the untrained eye.

I would argue that just as trees are essential to the life and future of the planet, community hospitals like Brattleboro Memorial Hospital (BMH) have an analogous role in the regions they serve.

As such, we must nurture, support, and guide these vital community assets, or we place ourselves in peril.

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