With its top-rated day spa and an espresso cafe in the lobby, Hackensack (N.J.) University Medical Center has worked hard to differentiate itself from the big hair, congested roadways and methane-oozing landfills commonly associated with New Jersey.
So its curious that Garth Ballantyne, Hackensacks director of the Minimally Invasive Surgery Institute, failed to seize the golden opportunity to put Hackensack on the map with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Ballantyne was invited to meet Sarkozy when the president recently visited the Institut de Recherche contre les Cancers de lAppareil Digestif in Strasbourg, France. The catch is Ballantyne was at Hackensack, working his way through the crowd of people in Strasbourg with the help of a video-equipped robot that normally allows doctors to monitor procedures remotely.
And what were Ballantynes words on this momentous occasion? Greetings from the New York area.
Asked about Ballantynes one small step for a man moment and his failure to identify Hackensack by name, Nancy Radwin, a Hackensack spokeswoman, says, It wasnt about him, meaning Ballantyne. I dont even know that the president could speak English.