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Letters to the Editor for Monday, May 4

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Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion

Bellevue, Ellis are following protocol

I am writing in response to the recent letter, “Shocked at medical person not in mask.” First, I would like to thank the author for her concern for public health.
One of the many things this pandemic has taught us is that we all need to work together to limit the spread of the coronavirus; a big part of that effort is in educating each other on best practices (from masking to social distancing to hand hygiene).
The letter rightly questioned why two members of our medical staff at Bellevue Woman’s Center were pictured  in a photo published in The Gazette without masks. By explanation: The photo was taken in 2011, long before the pandemic began. (This wasn’t noted in the caption.).
Had this picture been taken today, these two professionals certainly would be wearing masks.  
I discussed in detail with The Gazette how we could help illustrate the story. We decided that providing a photo from Bellevue’s files was the best way to limit potential exposures of an outside photojournalist coming into our facilities. I applaud The Gazette for working with us.
At both Ellis Medicine and Bellevue Woman’s Center, we are taking all precautions and following detailed protocols for personal protective equipment, staffing and patient care recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and state and local public health agencies.
Our staff is doing an exemplary job implementing and following these measures, and we applaud them for their skill, compassion and dedication to patient safety and public health.
Philip Schwartz
Schenectady
The author is senior director of marketing & communications for Ellis Medicine and Bellevue Woman’s Center.

Don’t let covid take away our libraries

We need to open our libraries. If only “essential” businesses are open, why are libraries not open?
If liquor stores are considered essential, why aren’t libraries?
There are many reasons why we should open libraries.
For example, lots of people do not have books or learning resources at home.
Books are a wondrous thing. They teach us and entertain us, especially when we cannot leave our homes.
Normally, the library is not even that crowded.
If we do open the libraries, here are some precautions we can take. First, we can wash our hands after we touch a book.
Next, if the library gets crowded, we can have a limit on how many people are let inside.
Books are a wonderful thing.
Please do not let COVID-19 take them away from us.
Carter Dibble, age 9
Niskayuna
This letter was written with the help of Carter’s father, Christopher Dibble.

Dr. Wertalik was a pioneer in hospice

After reading your recent obituary for Dr. Louis Wertalik, I am compelled to comment on the historical significance of his work with hospice.
While recognizing his impact as a physician and as a compassionate human being and friend, we also should honor the pioneering work that he contributed as a board member and first co-medical director for Hospice of Schenectady.
Dr. Wertalik served as a volunteer, helping to forge the interdisciplinary teamwork that is the hallmark of a hospice program.
Dr. Wertalik also cared for multiple younger patients, adolescents and children, helping develop pediatric palliative care before it emerged as its own specialty area.
Back in 1980, very few people knew what hospice was, and there was no coverage for such a program. With the guidance and support of Dr. Wertalik and countless others, Hospice of Schenectady grew and on Nov. 1, 1983, became the first hospice in the United States to receive Medicare certification.
Today, it is Community Hospice, serving over 4,000 patients and their families each year, providing community bereavement services, and an annual camp experience for bereaved children.
What a phenomenal legacy.
Phil Di Sorbo, MS
Saratoga Springs
The writer was the first executive director of Hospice of Schenectady.

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