TGH kidney team hits 40 | June 22
To save lives, become organ donor
Tampa General Hospital's celebration of 40 years providing the gift of life through organ transplantation in our community highlights the amazing stories, such as that of longtime kidney recipient Cindy Ellis, that exemplify the many lives saved annually because of organ and tissue donation. Ellis was the recipient of a kidney from a living donor, her sister, nearly four decades ago.
Unfortunately, with nearly 80 percent of the transplant waiting list for organ transplants made up of those who need a kidney, not every patient will find a living donor. For those patients who don't, including all those in need of heart, pancreas and intestine transplants and most needing liver and lung transplants, their gift of life will come from someone who made the decision to donate their organs after death.
The most important link in providing new life a chance to blossom through transplantation, however, was barely mentioned in the story — a donor and their family.
Most lifesaving transplants are due to the generosity of a family who lost a loved one, and in the midst of their grief they helped carry out their loved one's wish to save lives as an organ donor.
The generosity of such anonymous individuals sets an example for the rest of us. Decide to become an organ donor: Sign up on Florida's Donor Registry by visiting www.DonateLifeFlorida.org or when renewing your driver license or ID card.
Jennifer Krouse, Tampa
Medical moneymakers | June 25, commentary
Doctors earn their pay
In this article, the author has a chart of the 15 best-paid jobs, 13 of which are related to health care professions. He concludes that "American doctors are way overpaid." I was surprised and puzzled that he could have reached such a conclusion.
In a society where many "professionals" are paid millions of dollars entertaining in sports and show business with no one questioning the legitimacy of such remuneration, it seems cynical and frankly ignorant that anyone would question the income of individuals who literally dedicate their lives to keeping us all healthy.
Physicians typically work 60 hours a week (not counting weekend calls) seeing patients and documenting medical records, sacrificing sleep and time with family in the pursuit of trying to keep their fellow man well. Even if we do not consider the fact that becoming a physician is an extremely expensive endeavor and that most doctors I know are paying student loans well into their 40s, the degree of physical and intellectual effort put by doctors into their daily routines is by itself well worth their compensation.
The author states that health professionals' pay is "one of the many reasons U.S. medicine is so expensive." The health care crisis is much more related to the outrageous fees hospitals charge, as well as the cost of pharmaceuticals. The profit margins of these industries says it all.
Jesus L. Penabad, M.D., Tarpon Springs
Pasco school removes book | June 25
Lifelong reading lessons
I was saddened to see Pasco County remove the book Paper Towns from its eighth-grade reading list, not only because I abhor censorship of young adult fiction in general, but because the themes it discusses are relevant and critical to Pasco County. Urban sprawl, water rights, land use decisions and theme park culture are explored in a way that provokes critical thinking and problem-solving without talking down to younger readers — something rare in fiction aimed at any age. To be yanked from the list after a single question from one parent is inexcusable — particularly given the laughable "grandmother" test to which the book was subjected.
The books you read growing up, including in your teens, affect and shape you in a way that later reading can never duplicate. It's a shame the parents and decisionmakers were so pruriently consumed with the number of F-bombs that they missed the themes of friendship, academic excellence and loyalty also contained in Paper Towns.
Frankly, if your child reaches eighth grade and has to ask you what masturbation means, then shame on you — you are failing your child. Get over yourself and go talk to them about healthy sexuality before it's too late.
Denise Goodner-Robbins, Seminole
Opponents are persecuted | June 25, letter
Message of tolerance
When I read this letter about opponents to same-sex marriage, my immediate reaction was, "Yes, bigots should be silenced, persecuted and punished." Then I thought maybe I was being too harsh. I then ruminated over the three hours of television I saw about the civil rights movement of the 1960s and decided, "Yes, bigots should be silenced, persecuted, and punished."
I hope the documentaries 50 years from now reveal us to be a more enlightened and tolerant people than we were in the era of Jim Crow.
Elizabeth Corwin, Tampa
Americans wary of U.S. role in Iraq | June 25, commentary
As the neoconservatives like Dick Cheney pile on the war wagon, I wonder why no one is questioning our previous efforts. That is, we spent billions of dollars and years training the Iraqi army. Now that they are obviously totally inept at defending themselves, why is no one questioning how effective our training forces really were?
The thought of providing more training needs to be challenged after we've thoroughly demonstrated we weren't able to do the job previously.
Doug Bauer, Clearwater
Religion at root of strife | June 25, letter
Money and power
The letter writer forgot the deadliest religion of all: secularism. In the name of no religion, Mao Tse-tung caused the murder of between 50 million to 70 million of his citizens, and the Chinese government persecutes people simply for believing.
Josef Stalin's actions killed about 30 million as a conservative guess, and the secular Soviet Union persecuted religious people until its demise. Pol Pot of Cambodia killed over 1 million of his own people in an effort to create a secular state of his design.
Conflicts are never simple. While religion can play a part, it is very seldom the only reason; money and power are far more often the culprits.
Anothony Campanaro, Clearwater