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Give patients a say in doctor choices

I have been reluctant to voice concerns about NCH Healthcare System’s policy of allowing only NCH hospitalists to admit patients because I don’t think NCH is listening.

In July, my husband was rushed to the NCH emergency room. The ER staff decided to admit him and without consulting us, assigned a hospitalist and surgeon, both of whom were both on the NCH staff. I told them I had strong feelings about the assignment of a hospitalist, as I know they do not all communicate well with primary care physicians. Also, I did not recognize the name of the surgeon, who, I learned, was new to the area, having been on the staff only a month, and whose specialty was not general surgery. We are familiar with a Naples independent surgery group, which agreed to take the case. The surgery turned out to be nowhere near as straightforward as originally expected, so I was relieved we had an experienced surgeon.

Although ultimately we were able to pick both doctors to attend to my husband, I don’t want to think about the decision we would have faced if NCH hadn’t respected our wishes. I am writing not because I am opposed to hospitalists. They provide a valuable service if they communicate well with the primary care physician who will provide ongoing care after release from the hospital. But I strongly believe patients should have the ability to select the doctors who will be responsible for their care.

I urge the NCH system’s board to reconsider its policy of restricting admissions privileges only to hospitalists and instead, allow patients to have a say in the decision.

Kathryn Sullivan, Marco Island

Defend against quick judgment

The elections are over. Good thing because I’m sick of navigating the base nature of people seeking power and relevance through the strong arm of the state, local government and beyond.

Call me simplistic, but shouldn’t individuals empower themselves without piggybacking a power not necessarily their own? Even in a healthy republic, power is ultimately enforced staring down the barrel of a gun. Sound extreme? Break the law, resist arrest, then see what happens.

We have a dangerous world filled with bad people seeking to do harm. I’m grateful for the rule of law. I’m not grateful for those using the benevolent power for less than benevolent reasons. Usurping the powers of the state or city to force good neighbors to submit to another’s petty will is not a benevolent reason.

It is time for all of us to get back to running our own lives and to cease attempting to control our neighbor’s home and the world. Pay close attention to the periphery of power and those straining to wield it but focus on the road ahead of you. Do not spend one moment looking over neighbors’ fences. There is plenty enough to improve upon in your own yard.

Abraham Lincoln understood a nation could not survive divided by the color of a person’s skin. He wasn’t going to cure that particular sickness in his lifetime, but he could hold the nation together long enough for future generations to see all men heal with hope and the promise of freedom to pursue happiness.

Today we can see evil in an honest lack of knowledge of another’s plight. Does this sound familiar? At the end of the day, we are all in the same boat. Defend my right from those who make quick judgments and I will defend yours.

Walter R. Jaskiewicz, Marco Island

Hospital complaint ignored

I am a retired hospital system chief executive officer responding to a letter by Irv Povlow, stating that Dr. Allen Weiss, president and CEO of NCH Healthcare System is “one of the most caring individuals you will ever meet.”

When I retired to Naples, I wrote a guest commentary expressing my concerns regarding the NCH system transferring premature babies to Miami rather than to Lee Memorial. I was invited to have a luncheon with Weiss, his board chairman and his chief operating officer.

Weiss did not participate in the conversation until the end, when he attempted to justify his decision with a list of statistics. He invited me to tour the downtown hospital. As I sat in his office, I explained to him that my mother-in-law recently presented to NCH North Naples Hospital’s emergency room with a possible stroke. Her medical condition was not diagnosed for approximately three hours. I knew stroke protocols, as our former hospitals were certified stroke centers. Those protocols were ignored even after I strongly complained to the ER staff. The final diagnosis was a mild stroke and heart attack. Weiss gave no response to my comments. He told me that when people express concerns, they take care of it. Obviously, they did not. He then showed me several letters he was sending to people who had complimented the hospital. I was stunned and appalled. During my 40-year career, I never treated a patient or their family the way I was treated. I always showed respect and compassion when they came to see me. During my experiences with Weiss, he did not listen and only responded with statistics that were not balanced with pragmatism or understanding.

R. Lynn Wilson, Naples

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