March 5, 2009
Letters to the Editor
Thanks Dr. Williams:
A couple of weeks ago husband Harvey suffered severe shortness of breath. Dr. Kenneth Williams, of Williams Medical Clinic here, diagnosed congestive heart failure, and called his Memphis cardiologist who said he should report to the Memphis hospital where he has been treated for years for various heart-related ailments.
The hospital shall remain nameless to protect the guilty.
Well, Harvey was treated in the ER for about six hours with diuretics, heart monitor, got a chest x-ray and was sent home with a printout of all the tests, treatment, etc. that had been done.
A week later he was still short of breath so we went to Dr. Williams who said he still had some congestive heart failure and fluid in his lungs. When he looked at the Memphis hospital’s printout of what had been done and test results, he was aghast that they had sent Harvey home, when he should have been hospitalized.
So, Dr. Williams put him in our wonderful local hospital here on a Friday afternoon. He was given more diuretics, IVs with antibiotics to clear up possible pneumonia and was allowed to come home late Sunday morning, all fluid gone from his legs, all congestion in his lungs gone.
During this two days he could not have had better care. Nurses were in and out frequently, needed tests were done quickly and results read and treatment given accordingly. The nurses treated him like family, checked to make sure he was comfortable and watched over him during the night.
One of the maintenance staff came in daily to wipe down everything in the room with disinfectant and mopped every inch of floor with disinfectant. The nameless Memphis hospital doesn’t do that.
We have used Alliance HealthCare System hospital for over two decades for various things and we have always had excellent and attentive care. I’d put their care up against Memphis hospitals any time as we’ve had a lot of experience with Memphis hospitals.
This is an open letter of thanks to Dr. Williams and the nursing and lab staff for a job well done and their consistent standard of excellence.
Thanking Alliance again:
I would like to publicly thank all the doctors, nurses, nutritionists, and everyone at Alliance HealthCare System in Holly Springs who took care of my mother before her death.
Her treatment was fantastic and although she had an illness that was not curable, her last days were as comfortable as possible. That’s due to the great treatment she received out at Alliance.
Her mind was very good up until the very end and due to the fact that she was a former nurse, she knew her treatment was very good and said so several times.
Our family was very appreciative of all that was done for her. We understand, as they do, Alliance is not for all situations but we are so thankful we had a very good, local hospital for Mother to be in.
We wish Dr. Williams great success in putting a new hospital in next to his clinic. We need a good first care unit here that can save lives, as we know immediate care is very important to saving lives.
Heartfelt thank you:
I just wanted to say thank you so very much for everything you all have done for my daughter and family. Without the help we have received from you all, my daughter, Destiny Oakes, would still be attending public school and not getting the education that she so deserves. No one has ever helped my family in so many ways as you all have.
Also, this past Christmas was so awesome, and a blessing from God. To have seen the happiness on my children’s faces when they got to meet Santa Claus, and to have gotten all the things they got was so great.
Mr. Crain, you have gone so out of the way to help me and my family. Santa Claus you put a smile on Destiny’s face every time she hears your voice. To all the people who have gone out of there way to help me get back and forth to make sure I had a way to pick Destiny up and take her back, thank you so much.
Maybe one day I will be able to do something for everyone, because I feel I have not shown all my thanks.
If I ever meet anyone that needs help with their blind child I would surely tell them about the Byhalia Lions Club.
Again, thank you and God bless you all. My daughter has really been blessed since you all came into our life. I really did not think there were real angels on earth until you all came into my life.
From the bottom of my heart thank you and God bless.
The purpose of this letter is to respond to letters in the latest edition of the paper from Mr. Jones of the County Democratic Party Executive Committee and from Mr. McMillan of Concerned Citizens. Both letters complained of the board of supervisors’ failure to approve construction of a drug and alcohol treatment center in Marshall County. One way to allocate public money is to analyze the benefit to be gained from a proposed action in light of its cost. I suspect that the board simply decided that the citizens of the county would get more benefit from the highway than from a treatment center.
According to recent news released, President Obama’s stimulus package has set aside $1.1 billion to study the cost effectiveness of various healthcare treatments. In other words, healthcare options will be compared on a cost-benefit basis. If, for example, a 35-year-old man needs a hip replacement, it would obviously be cost effective to provide him with the surgery. If however, the man with the bad hip were 75 years old instead of 35, it might be found that it would be more cost effective to provide him with a cane and some pain medicine.
While I am no fan of cost-benefit analysis in the provision of health care (especially since I am in the cane and aspirin age group), the method is very helpful in determining where scarce dollars should be spent on a variety of government projects. What happens when we apply cost-benefit analysis to the proposal for a drug and alcohol treatment center?
The first question in our analysis should be: What would be the likely success rate of such facility? A quick trip on the Google express will reveal that no more (and probably less) than 40 percent of the people completing rehab stay clean. This rather disappointing number looks even bleaker when you consider that less than half the people who enter rehab actually finish the treatment. If you know an alcoholic or a drug addict, you are probably not surprised by these statistics. If you are lucky enough not to know anyone in those unfortunate categories, ask yourself this: Do I know of anyone who has been to rehab? I’m sure that everyone knows of two or three celebrities who have been through rehab. Next ask: How many times have they been through? Do you see my point?
Private rehab centers with highly qualified and highly paid staff are more effective than government programs. I suspect the quality of any effort we could mount in Marshall County would be well below the quality of the high-priced rehab centers, and that our success rate (if any) would be well below as well.
The time to worry about drug and alcohol problems is before children try their first taste. If we are going to spend money on drug and alcohol programs, it would be much better spent on prevention. If an alcoholic or a drug addict really wants to change his life, there are churches and charitable organizations that will help him with that change; and if he does not want to change his life, no amount of tax money is going to convince him to do so.
Having a rehab center available would likely encourage judges to send criminals to rehab rather than to prison. While involuntarily in rehab, a criminal would be free to ply his trade during whatever free time he managed to get. In prison, the criminal will not be able to ply his trade, a definite plus for the citizens of the county. In prison, he will not be able to infect children with his bad habits. While incarcerated and sober, he might actually have a reason to seriously consider a rehab program sponsored by the prison system.
It would seem to me that applying cost-benefit analysis to the rehab issued makes a lot more sense than applying it to healthcare options. I think the board of supervisors made the right decision.
Leaving the nest:
It is with mixed feelings that I leave wonderful friends and Audubon staff, my second family in Holly Springs for a new life in Texas. I wish to thank all of you for this great experience. In addition, I wish to thank Beth Breithaupt for the nice story in The South Reporter on January 22. For posterity I would like to elaborate and correct a detail particularly for my son Brian Smith.
During his senior high year in Plano, Texas, he learned I would be returning to college. It was extremely important to him (so much so that he made me make a promise) that I would not attend the same college as he. That promise was kept. He graduated Austin College in Sherman, Texas, and later Stanford University in Palo Alto, Ca. I graduated Texas A&M University in Bryan-College Station, Tx.
As I begin a new life and work in Texas, I hope to find time for special projects such as possibly a children’s book about my cat “Buster,” a most unusual feline who has traveled with me for nine years -- unafraid of airplane or car and always ready to go. From the Rio Grande Valley of Texas to the magnolia-lined streets of Holly Springs, Mississippi, he has logged many thousands of miles as a traveling companion. Buster’s personality and entertaining antics have helped me keep a healthy perspective on all life, in particular nature and its creatures.
As I depart, it is my hope the community will always remember the Finley family and the wonderful legacy they left to Marshall County. Strawberry Plains is probably the best gift the region could ever receive. It is beautiful, it offers pleasure to all who visit, it is a place of education and most importantly a place of perpetual conservation.
The center is in good hands with excellent staff, a great stewardship board and soon the new state director. Your ongoing assistance and commitment will assure that it becomes a jewel in Mississippi helping improve the region’s quality of life, the environment and other positive outcomes.
I wish all of you the best. Good luck in the future.
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