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Open heart surgery is on the way

Editor: Re: Help us fight for better health care, Nov. 8 letter to the editor from county Commissioner Diane Rowden:

As a mother myself, I would never discuss Ms. Rowden's personal tragedy. I do, however, feel compelled to comment on one particular inaccuracy she has made. She stated:

"I am calling on HCA to stop their legal appeals of the new Brooksville Regional Hospital. To put to rest rumors by giving people of Hernando County the full story about what resources they are putting into their open heart program. And to give us a firmer timetable for when they intend to have this open-heart service up and running. It's time for answers and actions."

I cannot comprehend why Commissioner Rowden continues to say she does not believe the open heart program will happen. A letter from Dan Miller, president of HCA's West Florida Division, which was addressed to Commissioner Nancy Robinson with copies to Commissioners Mary Aiken, Chris Kingsley, Rowden and Betty Whitehouse (and which was delivered by both fax and U.S. mail) clearly answers all the issues she refers to as rumors.

Mr. Miller's letter, dated Oct. 28, reads: "The Oak Hill Hospital expansion is not on the back burner, but is moving through our normal design and construction process." It also says, "The timeline for beginning construction of a CON-approved project is detailed in state regulations. It is my intent to fully comply with state regulations and begin construction well before that timeline expires."

I believe this clears up any misconceptions Commissioner Rowden may have on our intent to provide open heart surgery to Hernando County in a timely manner.

I agree with Commissioner Rowden that it is time to put to rest all rumors about our open heart surgery program.

Nancy Kaminski

director of marketing

Oak Hill Hospital

Bicyclists, motorcyclists

put all of us at risk

Editor: Motorcyclist loses leg in crash, Nov. 11 Times:

After reading about the motorcyclist who lost his leg in a crash in Spring Lake, it only made me more astounded that there are not several deaths a week in that area.

Every weekend, caravans of motorcyclists, as well as bicyclists, can be seen all over Spring Lake Highway and the surrounding roadways. Their attraction is understandable _ hilly, winding roads surrounded by beautiful countryside. And every weekend I wonder if I'm putting my life and my family in danger when we leave the house.

The large groups of motorcyclists in this area seem to think they are on a race track. They find it mandatory to go 100 mph or faster along Spring Lake Highway. For example, on a recent Sunday morning as my wife was driving home with our baby in the back seat along Spring Lake Highway just south of Powell Road, a group of about 10 motorcyclists sped around her at at least 85 mph. The speed limit is 40 mph in that area, going up to 45 mph. This area is particularly winding and hilly, and she was maybe going about 5 mph above the speed limit. She had to pull over to the side of the road to compose herself.

The bicyclists in the area create another danger. They often can be seen in groups of 20 or more along the same hilly and winding roads and find it necessary to spread their group across the road, blocking at least one full lane of traffic. It is impossible at times to pass them because of the twists and turns along the road, and these bicyclists tend to ignore motorists.

This situation can be very dangerous. I know this because I barely escaped what could have been a horrific accident. I was driving north on Spring Lake Highway, just south of Hayman Road. As I came around a bend driving at about 60 mph (the speed limit is 55 mph in that spot), there were three southbound vehicles driving in my northbound lane, passing a large group of bicyclists. I quickly veered off into the grass and drove about 1,000 feet before being able to return to the road. I was shocked I didn't hit a mailbox or tree. Even more, I was shocked that there wasn't a crash and that several bicyclists were not killed.

These are just two examples of ongoing problem with cyclists in the Spring Lake area. I hear similar stories from other residents. And the recent accident in which a motorcyclist lost his leg is not as bad as what could happen any day. I'm surprised that groups of bicyclists haven't already been mowed down by motorists.

Unless there are some changes, that day will unfortunately come.

Bobby Day, Spring Lake

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