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In “The Hostile Hospital,” from the Lemony Snicket “Series of Unfortunate Events” books, the three young orphans at the center of the story visit the fictitious Heimlich Hospital, where Babs, the head of human resources, asks them if they know what the most important work done in a hospital is.

“Healing sick people?” one of the children asks innocently.

“You’re wrong,” Babs growls, silencing the children. “The most important thing we do at the hospital,” she continues without flinching, “is paperwork.”

It’s a satirical stab that comes uncomfortably close to the truth.

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