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In defense of male nurses

Re: Bruce Alan Young, male nurse accused of raping patients in a Citrus County hospital.

Every day we have to read yet another article about Bruce Young, the nurse accused of molesting patients under his care. I am a registered nurse _ a female _ and I fear that all male nurses may now be viewed as potential sex offenders because of one man.

I have worked in hospitals for 23 years and have worked with many male nurses. All of them have delivered competent care with the utmost respect toward their patients. It is so unfair that because of Bruce Young, these health caregivers may be scrutinized now by their employers and patients.

Everyone in the nursing profession has been hurt in some way by the publicity of one man. We are outraged that a violation of this magnitude occurred in a place of healing. I hope the public can feel secure when they come to us for help _ that they realize that most nurses treat their patients with respect and afford them care that protects their privacy and upholds all the values in which we believe.

Mease Hospital has some of the best male nurses in the area. So, to all the Daves, Rickys, Alans, etc., we are grateful to have you here.

Mary Ann Fauber, Dunedin

It is time we quit questioning the integrity and professionalism of males in nursing. Why would the alleged acts of one person cause others of the same profession to be scrutinized? Are all plastic surgeons now under a microscope because of the alleged acts of one? I think not! Are other physicians' ethics questioned because one physician is found guilty of malpractice? No, of course not. They are all respected and evaluated on individual bases, not as a group.

Our profession certainly should receive the same respect as any other. Males in education have not suffered because of Young's acts at Countryside High School nor has their integrity been questioned. The same should be said of males in nursing. I don't believe that if the situation were reversed _ the patients male and the accused female _ that women in nursing would come under the same microscope.

It appears a sick man has performed sick acts. It should not be said that a sick segment of a profession has performed sick acts.

J. Gregg, R.N., Seminole

A "hidden agenda'

Re: Gun lobby is perpetuating the "militia myth," letter to the editor, Oct. 19.

This correspondent, though he does not sign himself as such, is the local head of Handgun Control Inc. About four times a year, he dips his pen in acid and produces an anti-gun diatribe calumniating the National Rifle Association and spiced with such emotionally charged words as "malcontent" and "anarchist"; also inflammatory phrases such as: "Or should we wait until they start shooting?" This, of course, is an attempt to strike fear into the hearts of the timid and win converts to his organization. With his unique interpretation of the Bill of Rights, he writes as though he alone had a miraculous insight into the minds of the founding fathers.

The admitted aim of Handgun Control Inc. is the total disarmament of the civilian population. Its hidden agenda is the establishment of a police state.

And whom, do you think, do they have in mind to run it?

Joseph R. Gately, St. Petersburg

An 'unjust' ruling

Re: Cough up our refunds on illegal impact fee, Oct. 14.

Columnist Howard Troxler decries the "arrogance" of the government's "foot-dragging" to those chosen for a refund of the impact fee, insisting the state should pay the legal fees for this "illegal" charge.

At least they'll get most of this fee back. If Mr. Troxler is truly concerned with justice, why didn't he mention the unfairness of not refunding those charges paid between July 1990 and June 1991?

Either the law is constitutional or unconstitutional. If it is unconstitutional, then it's unconstitutional for everyone who paid it, not just charges since July 1991 _ because of some "technicality" in the wording of the law. For the life of me, I can't understand why judges are called "justices" with such examples of unjust rulings.

I'm a widowed senior citizen (not old enough for Medicare) _ one of those forced to go without medical care to pay this outrageous fee in January 1991 _ and there are no words to describe the anger this blatant discrimination arouses in me as I'm certain it does in everyone else who has been singled out as the target of this cowardly and unjust decision.

Bobbie J. Lynch, Brooksville

Increasing costs

During the national debate over health care, all I heard were stories on the increasing costs for physical (bodily) ailments. To the best of my knowledge, I heard, read or viewed nothing about the increasing costs for dental treatments.

As a 69-year-old old-timer, I became painfully aware of the cost of dental treatments during my latest visit _ $500 for one crown, $2,500 for four new teeth, $120 for cleaning. As I write this, I will have to use 50 percent of my pension funds for the treatments. For those mathematicians reading this, you should come to the conclusion that my pension is not large. I believe it was Jimmy Durante who said: "What a revoltin' development!"

My final comment to the dentists reading this is: "How can you justify charging those with limited funds the amounts noted in the aforementioned paragraph?"

Charles Remke, Gainesville

Voter education the key

Re: Martin Dyckman's Judging by the name, Oct. 18.

Martin Dyckman seems to think voters are incapable of sifting through campaign rhetoric when electing judges. His suggestion that candidates should run for office "only if they have passed muster before one of the (judicial) nominating commissions" won't work. First, the citizens would have to amend the Florida Constitution. Article 5, Section 8, of the Florida Constitution sets out the minimum standards for being a judge. You don't have to take any special classes to become judge _ you don't have to appear in court and represent clients. In fact, you don't have to practice law a day in your life to be qualified to run for judge. You have only to pay the filing fee and be a member of the Florida Bar for five years _ and you're "qualified."

Second, judicial nominating commissions can, and sometimes do, eliminate well-qualified individuals from consideration on purely sexist grounds. Critics of the appointment process complain that the system places mainly "good ol' boys" on the bench. The Judicial Nominating Commission (JNC) has only nine members; three are lay persons and six are lawyers. The JNC reviews applications, interviews the judicial candidates, culls three from the crowd and forwards those names to the governor for his final selection.

With an election, the entire voting populace, not just nine people, has a voice in selecting the judge. Critics of the election process state that anyone who has the proper filing fee and the required number of years as a member of the Florida Bar can throw his hat in the ring and run for judge. As with any campaign, the judicial campaign is one of big bucks and hotly contested races. Unfortunately, the most qualified candidate does not always win. Too often, the candidate who can out-spend the competition becomes the winner and the citizens become the losers. Martin Dyckman's editorial regading Mary Jean McAllister is a case in point.

What makes a good judge? Certainly legal knowledge, certainly courtroom experience, certainly honesty and integrity, and certainly the ability to rise above scuttle-butt and courthouse rumor-mongering.

Anyone interested in learning more about a particular candidate's qualifications, or lack thereof, can attend judicial candidates' forums any night of the week during the current campaign. But few do. Judicial candidates are highly visible and more than willing to expound upon their qualifications for office _ which, by the way, is practically the only topic each candidate is allowed to discuss during a campaign. The canons of judicial ethics prohibit candidates from making any pledges or promises of conduct in office other than the faithful and impartial performance of the duties of the office; from discussing (one's) views on disputed legal or political issues; and from misrepresenting (one's) identity, qualifications, present position or any other fact. Candidates are urged to maintain the dignity expected of a judge during the campaign. In most cases, this effectively bars candidates from informing voters that the opposing candidate is totally underqualified for office, as the truth is often labeled "mud-slinging" by the less qualified candidate.

Using the JNC to screen potential candidates and taking away the citizen's unfettered right to elect judges will not solve the problem of underqualified judges.

So what can the ordinary citizen do to ensure qualified men and women are sitting on the judicial bench? Voter education is the only solution to the problem of unqualified judges. Judicial elections are held on a regular basis. Every county judge must be approved by the voters every four years, and every circuit judge every six years.

Be a responsible voter and monitor the judges currently sitting on the bench. Attend the campaign speeches and ask pointed questions about a particular candidate's qualifications to hold office.

Citizens are the ones ultimately affected by judges' rulings. Judges have considerable control over your life, whether you have a traffic ticket, a small claim suit against your neighbor or a dispute with a bill collector. Remember, your legal rights are at stake. Use your vote wisely.

Melissa Gilkey Mince, Largo

Does anyone care?

Re: Kim Mays won't be charged for lying, Oct. 20.

Does anyone care that Robert Mays could have spent the rest of his life in prison? This decision by Highlands County Assistant State Attorney Steve Houchin is saying that it's okay for any emotionally disturbed person to make false sexual abuse allegations.

The Child Protection System and FDLE are in place to protect children from abuse and neglect. They are not there to handle false reports. The time wasted on this false abuse report could have been spent to help some needy children.

All Florida parents, beware. Any child can say whatever he or she wants, and you will spend the rest of your life in prison.

Robert A. Zeller, founder, Dads Assisting Dads,

Pinellas County, North Redington Beach

This is "peace'?

Re: Nobel Peace Prize.

I refer to the Oct. 20 headline Bus bomb kills 20; Israel to strike back. Also, "We will tear them to bits," the Israeli president says.

This is peace? I wonder if the prize money awarded will be returned.

Dorothy E. Karkheck, Palm Harbor

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Letters must include the name, address and telephone number of the writer.

Letters may be edited for clarity, taste and length. We regret that not all letters can be printed.

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