Letters to the Editor - Jan. 27


Published: Tuesday, January 27, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 26, 2009 at 2:28 p.m.

We're still here

As the medical director for Shands AGH Emergency Department, I felt mixed emotions when I learned that Shands AGH would close in November.

Our hospital has been a community institution for 80 years, and to see that change is heart-wrenching. The compassionate Shands AGH staff made it iconic to our community.

I care for multiple generations of patients who were born here and have deep ties to the community. Our hospital has been part of the fabric of Gainesville for many years, and it will be a difficult change.

As increasing numbers of patients demand health care services, Shands will work as a system to meet community needs. Shands' new Archer Road facility will open in November. This state-of-the-art cancer hospital will feature trauma services and a critical care center with more bed capacity than the current emergency departments at Shands at UF and Shands AGH combined. It simply will dwarf any other facility in North Florida.

As we move through this transition I am asked by patients and family members if Shands AGH is still operating and seeing patients. The answer is absolutely.

We still have a busy emergency department with an active medical staff. The physicians, surgeons, obstetricians and cardiologists who have cared for the community for years are still here. The skilled nursing and support staff that our patients know and trust are here.

We take pride in offering the caring service Shands AGH is known for. And while nobody likes to wait, we see our patients faster than any other emergency room in town. Our cath lab and superb cardiology services are second to none. Shands AGH is still here 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The people at Shands AGH have always made the difference and will continue to do so into the future.

Matt Shannon, M.D.

Medical Director

Shands AGH

Emergency Department

Something's wrong

There is a certain sadness that hangs over Shands AGH these days. I'm there as a volunteer every week and I feel it.

Yes, everyone involved in patient care and service to others is still kind and pleasant as always. But now there's the overwhelming fact that this hospital will close at the end of the year.

What's most disturbing is the fact that this is about money. When one hears about the closing of a medical facility that serves so many sick, injured and needy people, something seems wrong.

When we can spend billions on weapons and wars that kill and injure fellow human beings, yet find it financially necessary to close hospitals, something is wrong.

When 40 million Americans have no health insurance, and many who do cannot afford certain procedures and medicines, something is wrong.

When our tax money is freely given for often unnecessary congressional earmark projects, it is more than disturbing that hospitals across the country are forced to close, something appears to be very wrong.

When we know that our country's unmet social and medical needs are so vast, and that people's health is supposed to be a top priority, how can we not want to do something about hospitals being made to close?

How sad that the words of Jesus seem to be ignored in many areas. Matthew's 25th chapter makes His message very clear: Our final judgement will be based upon that which we do for the sick and needy, for the least of our brothers and sisters in this world.

Geraldine Hacker,

Keystone Heights

Obama gets to work

Within hours of kicking off his "At Last" dancing shoes, Barack Obama hit the ground running with swift action to right the wrongs of his predecessor.

His executive order to shut down Guantanamo Bay detention center speaks volumes given former POW John McCain's contention that granting the right of habeas corpus to Guantanamo detainees is "one of the worst decisions" for this country.

Donald Rumsfeld's assertion that Guantanamo contains the "worst of the worst" may have some credence, but it is likely that many impoverished Pakistanis and Afghans, offered cash rewards to reveal Al-Qaida and Taliban fighters, were motivated by greed, desperation and personal vindictiveness rather than a burning desire to assist the U.S. in its war of terror.

True, "enemy combatants" who plot and carry out acts of terror against this nation should be brought to justice. Those unjustly rounded up amid the chaos of wartime while spending year after year after year in a Cuban jail cell should have their day in court.

Carol Hunter,

Gainesville

Dismayed about UF's unfair hiring

As I read The Sun article about possible layoffs at the University of Florida, I was angered by the mention that a professor was let go because there was no position for her, and that a linguistics position she qualified for was filled by the spouse of someone who had an endowed chair.

This practice of the university to find jobs for the spouses of individuals they want to recruit needs to stop. It is unethical and unfair to others applying for dwindling positions and to the individuals who must work with or learn from someone who may not be the best candidate for the job.

I don't know if anyone realizes how widespread this practice is here. I have seen it in every department that I have worked in for the past 23 years at UF. I don't care if stopping this practice causes a candidate not to accept a position. UF should on its own be considered a top choice.

Kim Ahrens,

Gainesville

Pat's trashing ways

I continue to be surprised that The Gainesville Sun places articles written by Pat Dooley in anything other than the opinion section of the paper.

Over the last several years Dooley seems to be writing more negative opinions and providing unsupported predictions based on his opinions of a wide range of sports topics. Recently it was the SEC, and his negative predictions for the Gator football team.

Why does he predict a local team will lose? Why can't he just say they will have a tough time, it will be a rough game, or they will have to play their best game of the year?

Why couldn't he have just compared SEC basketball stats with other leagues?

How do the players he is trashing feel after reading that "There are no great freshmen" in SEC basketball? That made some athletes' day, never mind their parents and friends.

Doug Prentiss,

Alachua

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