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."
time limit 30 mins
The feature draws a specious conclusion that treatment in small, nonprofit SN) hospitals is more economical and of better quality than the treatment in large, for-profit(LF) hospital. To substantiate it, the author quotes of the contrary of the average length of a patient's stay in the SN hospital in the town of Saluda(S) and LF hospital in the nearby city of Meagville(M). He also cites series of other facts (1) the cure rate of S hospital is about twice that of M hospital, (2) S hospital has more employees per patient, and (3) S hospital receive fewer complaints. However, after examining the evidence supported, it exposed to me that the evidence leads little logical support to the final claim.
In the first place, the author unreasonable assumes that the spectrum of disease the two kinds of hospital can heal are the same so that he can claim the treatment of SN in town S is more economical than that of LF in city M only on the basis of the contrast of the average stay time. However, it is possible that the larger hospital in city M have more advanced medical technology and higher quality of medical equipment. So some diseases like the brain surgery which takes long time to heal have to be treated in large hospital. And thus it is natural that the average stay time of large hospital is longer, which has nothing to do with economical. In short, without providing more evidence to prove the assumption the claim cannot convinced me.
Additionally, the author heavily fails to establish the causal relationship between the series of contrast of hospital in town S and city M and the claim that the treatment in SN hospital in S is better quality than that of LF hospital in M. To begin with, sequence of contrast do not necessary lead to the claim that the hospital in S treat better in quality than hospital in M. Firstly, the cure rate of S hospital is higher may result from that some diseases difficult to treat are prevailing in M. Secondly, S hospitals' employee may have less competence than that of M hospital even though the amount per patient is larger. Thirdly, few complains in S is highly possible result from the few population in the town S. In short, the facts cited by the author cannot lead a significant support to the conclusion. Furthermore, even given that claim above is right, the author cannot draw the conclusion that the treatment in S is of better quality than that of M by the precious assumption that the hospital in S is all SN while the hospital in M is all LF. Unless the author account for the assumption convincingly, it is hard to believe the conclusion drawn under such a specious assumption.
The last but not the least important, even assuming all specious conclusion above are right, it is still presumptuous to suggest that the SN hospital is more economical and of better quality than LF hospital. Since the special diction cannot respective for the whole country. It is entirely possible that the SN medical industry in town S developed much better than the LF medical industry in the city M. Therefore, lacking taking the respectable into account, it is not sufficient to draw the final conclusion.
All in all, the conclusion relies on certain doubtable assumptions that render it unconvincing as it stands. To eliminate the other reasonable assumptions, the author would have to provide information about the diseases spectrum that the two hospitals can heal and the contrast discussed in the feature respective for the whole contrary. What's more, to better assess the feature, the author would have illustrate more about the supporting evidences.