Letters for September 23-28, 2004
A mother speaks: I just finished reading "The Hospital on the Hill" (Wyatt Olson, September 9). It's enough to bring tears to my eyes.
Is there anyone at the upper levels of government to whom I can write? What needs to be done to ensure that Edward Seiler is removed from that position? It's his type that gives federal workers (I am one) a bad name.
My father-in-law, Vern, was a WWII Army veteran who passed away this year. He went to his grave with his two purple hearts and tiny pieces of shrapnel still embedded in his face. He was my husband's stepfather for 53 years, and we all loved him very much. My husband and my son both did their duty with the Army. Fortunately for me, it was peacetime, although my son did come out with a hearing problem associated with firearms for which he receives compensation.
So you can see why it bothers me to hear that veterans are not being cared for properly.
A critic opines: I am appalled by the negativism expressed in "The Hospital on the Hill." I don't argue with the facts expressed in this article, and I'm sure you will find similar concerns about nepotism and failures at any hospital that handles this many patients.
However, what about the fact that the staff and doctors see to it that the majority of appointment times are met? And that, once you're sitting with doctors, they give you their undivided attention for 20 to 30 minutes? Yes, it may take several months to get an appointment with a specialist after seeing your primary doctor, but once the appointment is set, you can be assured of special attention without being disturbed.
At most nonveteran doctor's offices, you have to wait up to two hours after your appointment time. The VA must be doing something right when doctors are ready to see you at the specific time your appointment is set. Further, the personnel are truly concerned for your health and well-being, making certain that the necessary lab work is done and then calling to inform you of any problems with the results.
Regardless of the difficulties noted in your article, the outpatient, laboratory, pharmaceutical, and physician's services are topnotch.
And a patient hopes: I was thrilled to read the story about the VA. This fine story showed extraordinary effort.
I was in the center for ten days in the spring of 2002. I was thrilled with my first experience and the treatment in the extended-care unit. I then attended the diabetic clinic and was referred to the chronic weight management class for 12 weeks -- and lost 45 pounds. I decided to volunteer to recruit vets for future classes, which are mostly concerned with prevention and illness related to obesity. I had good results, but it has been an uphill battle. We had no summer class due to the inspector general's examination, which had everyone on pins and needles.
I have seen what I call misuse of trained individuals, probably punitive, because of the fast-growing patient load. I worry that, in the future, I will be unable to receive service on a timely basis. Thus, I vowed to give back for care I received. I frankly thought that prevention was the order of the day and that the patient came first. Just one person with diabetes saved from an amputation could save maybe $250,000.
New Times must keep up its pressure to help clean house. Let's return the VA to what it should be.
West Palm Beach
But hey, that's his job: I was shocked to read my published letter in the September 9 issue of New Times because I sent it long ago, after Bob Norman's July 29 column, "River of Sludge" was published. Back then, Hollywood Commissioner Peter Bober voted against the Schwing-Bioset fiasco. I applauded him for his courage.
However, since then, Bober has sided with the "fecal rip-off of the decade." To Bober, I say this: "I must rescind my praise for you and let you know I consider you nothing more than a stinking political scumbag! You stink like bad cheese!"
Homophobia, Get Gone
History steps forward: Jeff Stratton's September 2 story, "Jamaica Yes Problem," was well-written and to the point. Jamaican homophobia is an excellent subject. Brian Williamson, a dear friend of mine, would be oh so proud were he alive today.
I am proud to inform you that, with Gilbert Dunkley's priceless assistance, my Jamaican partner was reportedly the first to be granted sexual-orientation-based asylum in New York in 1998. The rest is history.
Via the Internet
Straight-laced Stratton: Thank you for a well-researched, as usual, article on homophobia in Jamaica. And I don't think Jeff Stratton is even gay, and yet he was somehow able to portray the topic so well. Thanks for your scholarly work... and riveting writing.
Alberto Colonia and George Hunker
Via the Internet
"Anyone with ovaries?" What is that about? This is offensive at best. Yes, at Sister Speak, everyone is applauded for her effort. Sister Speak is about giving voice, about giving the experience of being heard and appreciated. I don't understand how any woman can debase this effort.
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