Diving headlong into sunny Eden | May 30
Wrong choice for Memorial Day
I was disappointed to see the Memorial Day front page devoted to an article on two young people who moved here from Wisconsin on a Greyhound bus with little to no money.
The better part of three pages was devoted to this piece, plus numerous photos, on Memorial Day when the space should more appropriately have been dedicated to our military, past and present.
With all the sacrifices of our fallen soldiers, sailors and Marines, I fail to see the logic of giving this article such a place of prominence.
Patricia Serio, Lutz
Your article about the young couple who moved to St. Petersburg to escape the harsh winters of Wisconsin brought tears to my eyes. What a heartwarming story.
It should make all of us appreciate the things many of us take for granted.
Of course, reality will set in for them too: Florida is as close to paradise as one can get, but life still isn't perfect. I truly hope they make it here.
Susan Hirschberg, Spring Hill
Vaccines could save millions of children
As we consider the effects that budget cuts will have on our lives and our children's lives in Tampa Bay, there are some things we still take for granted. One is that our children will have the vaccinations and inoculations that allow them to be free of childhood diseases.
But elsewhere in the world, nearly 9 million children under age 5 die each year from preventable or treatable conditions. Almost 40 percent of these deaths are caused by pneumonia and diarrhea. There are new vaccines to prevent these deaths but no funding to get the vaccinations to kids in need.
The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, is a decade-old public-private partnership that has been effective in delivering vaccines where they do the most good. GAVI estimates it can save millions more lives with the new vaccines.
I thank Rep. Kathy Castor for urging the administration to pledge a $450 million U.S. contribution to GAVI over the next three years. It will be money well spent. Vaccines are considered one of the best buys in global health. I call on our other legislators to support this worthwhile, leveraged investment.
Linda Schatz, Tampa
Gov. Rick Scott
Worst cuts under wraps
As the summer heat approaches, it may not be entirely misplaced to invoke the message of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol to describe Gov. Rick Scott's recent signing ceremony at the Villages.
The governor's budget speech may have taken place under the sweltering sun, but its meaning was as cold as the unrepentant Scrooge. Even so, Scott did not mention his egregious cuts to homeless veterans, a children's hospital, aid for the paralyzed, cancer research, meals for the elderly poor and a host of other benevolent causes that would be sure to stir the anger of Jacob Marley's ghost. The budget cutbacks do not in any way constitute "a fair, even-handed, noble adjustment of things," to quote Dickens, and so our governor kept the most repellent items under wraps.
C.S. Monaco, Micanopy
Specialist's call questioned | May 30
Good care is provided
After 35 years of medical practice in St. Petersburg, I read with concern the article about an unfortunate outcome at Northside Hospital. My personal experience at my two hospitals — St. Anthony's and Palms of Pasadena — is that their hospitalist specialists are very well trained and experienced, as well as hard working. No patient should be alarmed at being cared for by these dedicated physicians.
In the article, professor Art Caplan was quoted as saying, "It's a long way from when your family doctor used to admit you, follow you around and was probably there when you were discharged." Contrary to his perception, in Florida most family doctors and general internists do admit their own patients, follow them throughout their admission, then discharge them home.
Bruce Day, M.D., St. Petersburg
Keeping a close eye
While I appreciate the Times' attempt to shine a light on hospitalists, this is just one of many programs used by hospitals in response to dwindling revenue and reimbursement.
The hospitalists program is far from new. The movement began in the United States in the 1990s and here a decade ago in response to doctors' practices becoming busier. Since then it has grown into a program that also increases patient satisfaction and expedites care.
Hospitalists work exclusively in the hospital and keep a close eye on patients, making sure they are receiving the correct diagnostic work-up and appropriate therapeutic treatments. They assist patients through their recovery process by following up on tests and adjusting treatment plans. If the expertise of a consultant is needed, there will be a referral.
Having a half-dozen doctors on your case does not always assure you of a positive outcome. Occasionally, it can be detrimental. At Northside Hospital, the hospitalist is available all day. This allows for firsthand, quick and accurate assessments that do not rely on the observations of others.
Tracy K. Woolrich, RN, St. Petersburg
A symbol of U.S. decline
Let no one mistake the final mission of the space shuttle Endeavour for anything other than this: a sad marker on our nation's road to decline as a true world leader. We should be on our way to Mars by now; instead it would take years to just land again on the moon.
A limited window of opportunity exists to expand within (and beyond) our solar system. Soon enough, the necessary resources will be consumed by the conflicts of our rapidly expanding population. We can either fight it out with others over these ever-dwindling resources or lead in finding the way out.
Kevin O'Neill, St. Petersburg
Mayor isn't powerless in gun fight | May 29, editorial
Try gun buyback program
Your excellent editorial on St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster's struggle with gun violence told it like it is. You should include a suggestion for a gun-for-cash program. Giving a citizen $100 or so to leave a gun in any police station would be money well spent.
Rich Vaughan, Palm Harbor