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Letters to the Editor
What you need to know for 01/21/2018

Health care in Canada cannot compare to that in United States

Health care in Canada cannot compare to that in United States

*Health care in Canada cannot compare to that in United States *Cost of false fire alarms was greatl

Health care in Canada cannot compare to that in United States

Re Feb. 15 letter, “Canadian health care system the way to go”: The video Mr. Tom Ellis watched promoting the Canadian health care system was either propaganda or included people who have never used the American health care system and don’t know what they could have.

The severely substandard Canadian health care system almost killed my husband [in 2010]. We were in a hotel when he developed a high fever, became disoriented and could barely stand; he was rushed to the local hospital.

The facility was several generations of technology behind our local hospitals. They took a blood test but would not have results for two to three days. They took X-rays but the equipment was an old-style flat bed that was in such poor condition it took five tries to get two pictures. Again, results would take two to three days.

Due to short or poorly trained staff, my husband was left alone to relieve himself. He ended up on the floor in a puddle. To get him back in bed, they used a lift machine with the straps dragged through the puddle. Afterwards the machine was put away without being cleaned, much less sanitized. The floor was just wiped up and not mopped, much less sanitized.

After eight hours he was feeling better, and given that none of the test results would be back for days, he was given an antibiotic — just in case — and sent on his way.

After a day’s rest at the hotel, he started to become very sick again, so I loaded him in the car and drove the seven hours straight home. Since his legs and back were giving out, I took him straight to the emergency room at our local hospital.

Within an hour they had wheeled in an X-ray machine, taken pictures and had them analyzed and blood test results were back. It was determined that he likely had experienced food poisoning, but the main concern was the extreme infection he had probably picked up on the Canadian hospital floor.

It took four agonizing days of heavy-duty intravenous antibiotics before he showed any sign of improvement and we knew he would live. The visit to the Canadian hospital resulted in a brush with death and an eight-day hospital stay — all paid for by our private health insurance with no questions asked.

While not a major urban area, the Canadian facility was not a rural hospital either. The area was directly comparable to the size of Schenectady or Albany. If this is the standard of care Mr. Ellis wants, I suggest he move across the border and leave us to enjoy the advanced level of care we now receive. There is just no comparison.

We need to resolve the health care needs of those who cannot afford to buy insurance without dragging our excellent level of care down to the Canadian level. I’m sure we can do better.

Diane Barney


Cost of false fire alarms was greatly exaggerated

Just read Kathleen Moore’s Feb. 19 article [“False alarms cost fire dept. $1.1M in 2012”] in the Gazette. I assume she only knows what the mayor [Gary McCarthy] and fire chief [Michael Della Rocco] tell her. But does she or Mayor McCarthy or anyone else really think that there is even one person who believes it cost the city $1.1 million a year for the Fire Department to answer false fire alarms?

Unless all the city firemen are sitting around the firehouse and not getting paid and have to punch the time clock each time a call comes in, then punch back out afterwards, it doesn’t cost the city one extra dime in firemen’s pay to answer a false alarm or any other call.

These men are getting paid all the time they are on duty, whether they are fighting fires or polishing their shiny fire trucks, as all the children’s story books show. The only extra cost to the city is the price of wasted gas answering the calls. We’re talking hundreds at the most, not millions of dollars.

The mayor and chief also note added cost if a fire truck hits another vehicle while “racing” to answer a call. Maybe they should reconsider who they let “race” our fire trucks and other emergency vehicles. I did take notice that they don’t blame the civilian drivers in all these accidents, hmmmmmmm.

I believe the city firemen do an excellent job, but this story is all a bunch of manure.

Neil Nusbaum


Freedom of speech for me, but not for others

I read Al Haugen’s Feb. 14 letter concerning his desire to ban Vito Spinelli from submitting letters to the editor.

Mr. Haugen mounts an ad homenim attack on Mr. Spinelli, calling his letters “rants” and his opinions “off the wall.” He says that Mr. Spinelli should “spare us who have moved into the 21st century.” All without even addressing the contents of Spinelli’s letter.

The right to freedom of speech was put there specifically to protect civil political speech. Calls for censorship are a precursor to tyranny and typically come from those with a weak argument. It would appear that Mr. Haugen is the one who needs to move into the 21st century.

Kudos to the Gazette for their fairness.

Bill Hartman


Death with dignity should be the patient’s choice

Quality of life: Life is precious, where there is life, there is hope. Having said that, there is another issue besides alleviating the pain and suffering of terminally ill patients.

Dignity. When we can no longer live our life in a healthy, dignified way, and there is no hope of getting better, it’s time to consult with professionals on what options are available for comfort care; and when that is not enough, leave this life with composure and dignity.

Think how much better our families would feel if their last memory of their loved one was of quiet peace and dignity.

Marty Shanty


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