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Cutbacks at hospitals will hurt patient care

Re: Cutbacks at St. Anthony's and Bayfront, Aug. 4.

Why do the people in hospital management think they can run a hospital with fewer nurses? Patients are sicker today than ever and there is no way one nurse can properly take care of 13 patients. What happens when an emergency occurs and there is no other nurse to take care of the other 12 patients? I know _ I was a nurse and left hospital nursing for exactly that reason. Management needs to get out on the hospital floors and try this for one week. I guarantee you, there will be an immediate increase in the number of nurses on the floor.

According to all the nursing magazines and newspapers, there is a nursing shortage in this country again. It doesn't surprise me! More and more responsibility is put on nurses, and the people in management continue to think they can run hospitals without an adequate number of nurses simply because they have stood up and said, "We demand a fair wage for what we do."

Not only that, but management has also cut back on ancillary personnel. So instead of giving nurses some help, nurses now do those other jobs, too. There are very few nurses' aides, very few transporters and dietary people who don't even put trays in room. Who picked up the slack? Nurses, not management.

I appreciate the need to economize, but do it in such a manner that patient care won't suffer. A good place to start would be with fewer managers. Leave the people who do the work in your hospitals where they are and give them more help, not less. High-quality patient care brings patients to a particular hospital, so provide that and your cash flow will definitely improve. Managers need to remember that without patients, they don't have jobs, so by providing nurses for very high-quality patient care, they assure their own jobs.

Sylvia Fies, St. Petersburg

Who will advocate for the workers?

Re: Hospital cutbacks.

I think it is important for our journalists to ask the tough questions. Specifically: How many individuals are employed by Bayfront-St.Anthony's in an administrative capacity and what are their salaries? Likewise, how many hourly personnel and non-medical personnel, etc. are there? How much do the top level executives earn? Someone should ask questions like: "Would the top-salaried employees be willing to take pay cuts to save the jobs of lower level employees?"

Finally, why isn't there a section in our newspaper devoted to "labor" and the average wage-earner? Most of the population is made up of such people, yet we have an entire section of the daily newspaper devoted to business and the stock market, in which less than 10 percent of the population is directly involved. We have a daily sports section. We should at least have daily news coverage on the various happenings from the point of view of the average wage-earner.

My point is that the lower wage earners in our society need more advocacy, especially where unions do not exist.

Daniel P. Quinn, St. Petersburg

Keep home health-care viable

Re: Home health agencies struggling to hire help, July 26.

As a health-care provider, I find it disconcerting to see yet another form of health-care service in jeopardy due to managed care, inadequate funding and inadequate pay scales. If home health agencies cannot provide services or staffing to help people remain in their homes with a little bit of dignity and independence, then where will these people be forced to go? Who will pay for long-term, 24-hour care? We, the public, will ultimately pay, so why not help them to remain independent?

Is it really cost-effective to provide 24-hour care to a person who may only require one to two hours of help per day?

Maria McDermott, R.N., Largo

The lesson of the lobsters

Re: Making sport of dinnertime, Aug. 3.

Jeanne Malmgren has it right: Compassion is learned at an early age _ and so is cruelty!

Being allowed by one's parents to torment any creature (especially those who, like the lobsters she refers to, are unable to get away from their tormenters) also gives children the feeling that their pleasure _ their fun _ takes precedence over the pain (or death) of another creature.

We have learned in the past few years that animal abusers can become the people who abuse, and sometimes kill, people.

A reverence for life begins with what a child learns _ and those children grow up to produce caring communities,

Dorothea S. Goetz, Palm Harbor

Serve up a little compassion

Re: Making sport of dinnertime.

We wish to thank Jeanne Malmgren for this fine column, expressing concern and compassion for the lobsters in the lobster tank ("Lobster Zone") at Crabby Bill's restaurant. We fully agree with her.

Is it not horrifying enough that we throw live lobsters into a pot of boiling water? Is it necessary to torment and harass them before their cruel fate while children watch and laugh? Our society is getting sicker and sicker! For the sake of decency, find it in your hearts to feel compassion.

Winifred Reuter and family, Safety Harbor

This isn't fun

Re: Making sport of dinnertime.

Three cheers for Jeanne Malmgren! How unfortunate that an institution such as Crabby Bill's has sunk to such watery depths in the name of "fun."

I, for one, will be dining elsewhere till the clawed gallows is removed.

Last I checked, the beach steakhouses aren't charging a fin a pop to stun a cow _ for sport, of course.

D.J. Drewes, Safety Harbor

Time to get a life

Re: Making a sport of dinnertime.

Tell your staff reporter Jeanne Malmgren to get a life. What does she think of smashing ants or stepping on ant hills?

Lloyd Beasley, Weeki Wachee

Realtors not involved in down payments

Re: How about a little neighborly respect? by Bill Maxwell, July 21.

After reading this column, I called and left a message on Bill Maxwell's recorder stating that Realtors have absolutely nothing to do with a purchaser's "down payment." That is entirely up to the lender. This is a statement made by a reputable columnist that puts Realtors in a "bad light." I was not happy about it!

Maxwell chose not to rescind that statement, either by returning my call or publicly mentioning it.

Now it is brought up again in a July 29 letter to the editor (Column promoted racial stereotypes), reinforcing the idea. We do not need that kind of publicity and it is unfair of Maxwell to make statements based on misinformation.

Joan Richards, broker associate, St. Petersburg

The story of the police calls

Re: Don't leap to judgment, letter, July 29.

We would like to thank the letter writer for pointing out the item in the Tampa Tribune about the attack on our home which referred to "police being called to Jackalone's home seven times." In mentioning this, the letter writer gives us the opportunity to list those seven times.

"Called to" an address sometimes means called by the homeowner. That list of seven is now eight, adding on the graffiti incident of July 15.

All the following information is available as open records from the St. Petersburg Police Department, and anyone interested in seeing the reports need only pay for copying. Closer examination of police records shows complaints going back years before our arrival here, many of which are far more sensational than the following.

The first and second police reports show two times we complained about noise at the Jones residence, but both were entered backward on the call sheet as calls to our address. Those were at 2:49 a.m. on June 26 and 4:30 a.m. on July 11.

The third was a previous graffiti occurrence inside our fence, on the side of the house, on March 23.

Fourth, under "neighborhood dispute" on May 16, was an incident in which we called police after next-door neighbors had entered our gate, filled our trash can with garbage, dumped more on the ground behind the can and screamed obscenities out their windows at Melissa when she removed it.

Fifth and sixth were retaliation complaints against us by the Joneses, which the police conclude in their reports were false, both following complaints from us a few hours earlier and both ending with attacks on the police by residents of the Jones house.

"Suspicious circumstance" on Jan. 12, 1998, involved a woman who repeatedly identified herself as "Betty Sheffield" and claimed to have seen through the drapes of our house and witnessed domestic violence. The report says, "she started yelling at us" and, finally, "Mrs. Sheffield was belligerent towards sic us and we left to avoid a confrontation with her."

The "neighborhood dispute" on Sept. 12, 1998, 3:15 a.m., was a second attempt at a phony domestic violence complaint about us involving two anonymous calls. The report says our house was dark and quiet both times and notes that we had earlier complained about noise at the Jones residence. Seeing a man sitting in the door of the garage at the Jones house, watching, the officer asked if he had seen or heard anything. The man refused to answer, verbally assailed the officer and, finding "he was intoxicated" and "he seemed to be getting angrier," the officer was forced to leave.

The seventh and earliest call to our house occurred Dec. 28, 1997. A friend was visiting us from out of town and her car was egged while parked in our driveway. This was four days after the first time we had called the police about noise across the street, when we were among the many neighbors assaulted by an all-night party at the Jones residence on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning.

Thank you for creating this opportunity to answer the questions raised by that reference to police being sent to our house "seven times." Again, that's now eight, with the KKKs, f---s and clumsily executed Crips symbol painted on our house July 15.

Melissa Metcalfe and Frank Jackalone, St. Petersburg

Cat restriction is too harsh

Re: 2 cats are one too many for home in Shangri-La, Aug. 5.

I cannot believe the board of directors of the Shangri-La housing community would make an 80-year-old lady give up one of her cats. Aren't there more important things in life?

This is cruelty, because those cats mean as much to her as children mean to their parents. It is also a fact that pets help elderly people with their health. Perhaps another apartment complex will come forward and offer a place for her and the two cats so she does not have to stay where she is.

I hope the members of the board of directors are proud of themselves. Why, with all the terrible things happening around us every day, do they have nothing better to do than harass someone about two cats that are kept inside and not bothering anyone? I hope there is a change of heart or Rule 18 is changed so that Vera West can have her two cats.

Mrs. Vincent Sulla, Tampa

Share your opinions

Letters for publication should be addressed to Letters to the Editor, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. They can be sent by e-mail to letterssptimes.com or by fax to 893-8675.

They should be brief and must include the writer's name, address and phone number. Please include a handwritten signature when possible.

Letters may be edited for clarity, taste and length.

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