Strengthen trauma network
I was disappointed to read your editorial “The dangers of a trauma center glut” (Your Views, Jan. 6) and the stance you have taken, which is essentially supportive of shutting down trauma centers that are playing a vital role in the Tampa Bay area. First, you claim that the attempt by taxpayer-funded hospitals to shut down Florida’s newest trauma centers “is not a ham-fisted attack on competition,” but then you warn your readers of the “liberal trauma center policy in the 1980s caused 21 trauma centers to close.” So which is it? Do you support the closure of trauma centers or not? Because that is exactly what you are advocating.
Secondly, to assert that “treating the desperately injured doesn’t exactly lend itself to free-market competition” is precisely the line of anti-competitive thought that leads to higher health-care costs, and ultimately leads to government intervention in the name of “lowering health-care costs.” Florida needs to maintain autonomy over its trauma network, which means that local providers and agencies must work together to provide life-saving care to patients. But instead of working together, it seems that taxpayer-funded hospitals are more concerned about their bottom lines than the needs of patients.
Florida’s newest trauma centers are not somehow causing the quality of care at current trauma centers to diminish, but prove their true value by the lives they save every day. Rhetoric that calls for the closure of invaluable, quality, life-saving trauma centers does not belong in this debate. The Department of Health’s proposed draft trauma center allocation rule is a good place to start, because it carefully considers several key factors such as population density and transport time when determining a community’s true need for a trauma center.
As a life insurance professional, I take great pleasure in helping ensure quality of life for people around Tampa Bay. I wish that all stakeholders in this debate could come together for that same purpose, and work toward strengthening Florida’s trauma network.
Who will be missed more?
My family and I have had several season passes to SeaWorld and Busch Gardens since we moved here in 1985, and we will continue to get passes in the future. We go to these theme parks because of the animals, not because of the entertainers. I wanted my daughter to have exposure to the various animals found throughout the world, and both SeaWorld and Busch Gardens provide that.
I have never seen any radioactive or medical waste or oil in any of the water at SeaWorld, unlike the whales’ natural habitat, and they have veterinarians to treat them when they get ill or injured. Of course, we need to keep regulations and monitoring in place, but animal-rights activists have gone way overboard in their attacks on SeaWorld and Busch Gardens.
I am saddened when I hear of a trainer getting injured or killed performing their tasks, but they were in that business because they loved animals and thought it was important for the public to learn more about them. They are heroes as far as I’m concerned. So I’m sorry that some entertainers are boycotting SeaWorld and Busch Gardens, but they won’t be missed as much as the whales would have been.
Learning a trade
We can talk all we want about education, but for me, the real problem is that it’s all geared toward going to college. More than 50 percent should be in vocational technology high schools, which we had in every town when I was in high school. If you don’t have a skill, the lower 50 percent is going to have a tough time getting a good job. Take welding. Stainless and aluminum usually pay between $25 an hour and $30 an hour non-union, and between $30 and $40 union. I spent my career in shipbuilding, and we never had enough welders. We had crash courses teaching welding, and in six weeks 18- to 20-year-olds were making the wages mentioned. And then add the benefits at a company which exceed $10 per hour. Lots of kids after college will not be making what six weeks of welding school enabled young kids to make. The same is true for electricians and pipe fitters. And there’s little or no college loan money to pay.
John C Hutchison
Blame the Democrats
I fondly recall the days, 50 years ago, when I was growing up in Wisconsin. When my sister, brother or I got sick, my parents would summon old Doc Rees, who would make a house call carrying his black medical bag. He would proceed to diagnose and treat whatever ailed us and, if necessary, dispense the prescription he wrote from that same black bag. I doubt my parents paid him any more than $10 for the house call. Whenever he had to give us a shot, he would always preface it by saying, “If this hurts, don’t blame me; blame the Democrats.”
When I was young, I never quite understood what that meant. Fifty years later it is all very clear. Your words were prescient, Doc Rees.