Letters to the editor — The Courier-Gazette

Aug 07, 2014

Letter to Pen Bay CEO

I am not a doctor, nor a nurse, financial expert nor hospital administrator; However, I am a person who has been diagnosed with cancer, treated extremely well by Dr. Ramdin and her staff, and I, along with many others, have questions about what is really going on at PBMC.

Mr. Biscone, absolutely no one I have talked with is happy with your decision to not renew Dr. Ramdin’s contract. Furthermore, I have not heard very many positive things about the Sussman Hospice House. What I hear most are many questions that are tinged with confusion and fear.

Perhaps you might clear up for us some of the confusion and fear that we have, by giving straightforward answers to our questions. And please, please do not insult us with the glib answers people have received from you up to this point, about how much we will love Dr. Connolly once we get to know her, and that our cancer care will remain unchanged. Our cancer care cannot help but change. Whether or not we like Dr. Connolly is not the issue. Two NP’s and one DO cannot be expected to oversee the care of nearly 1,000 patients in the same way as they have been cared for up until now. To infer otherwise in your answers is in my opinion rather condescending.

Herein are my questions, and I am certain they represent only a sampling of the myriad of questions that have been circulating in our community since your announcement.

1. Will the patient be assisted in his/her actual process of passing from this life into whatever awaits them, as a patient at the Sussman Hospice House, or is it merely to serve as a temporary place for terminal patients, in order to give respite time to their caregivers?

2. Will there be a full-time physician on staff at the Sussman Hospice House?

3. Why was raising money for a hospice center for terminally ill patients, at a momentous price per bed, given precedence over raising money to pay the salary for a full-time oncologist who could potentially prevent more patients from reaching the terminal stage?

4. Why does it feel like an either/or situation? Hospice or Oncologist?

5. If you respect the opinions of your medical staff advisors on the Interdisciplinary PBMC Cancer Care Committee, why then are you totally ignoring their votes to maintain a full-time oncologist on staff at PBMC?

6. Why was Dr.Connolly chosen over Dr. Ramdin to be the oncologist to serve both hospitals? You have been quoted as saying that Dr. Ramdin was not even considered, and yet her credentials and experience are clearly superior to those of Dr. Connolly.

7. The number of cancer patients is not decreasing. Cancer patients are very likely to think twice about getting care at PBMC once they find out that Dr Ramdin has been replaced by a part-time oncologist, serving two hospitals, and no oncologist with an MD on staff. Did you consider that this change in personnel has the potential to lose money for the hospital, rather than saving money?

8. Did it occur to you, when you made these decisions, that the cancer patients are the most vulnerable group of patients at Pen Bay Medical Center?

I sincerely hope that your conscience can live with your answers to all these questions, but especially with regard to that last question.

Pat Putnam

Lincolnville

Miramant for Senate

Voters in State Senate District 12, which encompasses all of Knox County except for the town of Washington, should elect Dave Miramant, whose legislative record clearly defines his goals for a Maine that values conservation of the environment, educational opportunity, consumer protection and responsible planning for the future.

Maine faces critical issues across the board, and Dave Miramant has championed legislation that demonstrates his belief that government can be a positive force in protecting and enhancing the lives of citizens. As a member of the Natural Resources Committee from 2006-2008, Dave promoted sound environmental initiatives, including bond issues for land and water access, support of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, updating dioxin monitoring, and minimizing carbon dioxide emissions from coal-powered facilities.

A graduate of the University of Maine Farmington, he believes in the importance of a strong educational system that is available to all, including ensured access to community colleges and integrating secondary and post-secondary education.

Consumers can be assured he will fight for them, as he has already done in such areas as low-income energy assistance, protection against predatory lending, equity in funding for women’s health services and maintaining the affordability of DirigoChoice. Dave is committed to family protection as well by making domestic violence a crime.

His emphasis on long-range planning includes taking a hard look at the viability of municipal landfills, developing a comprehensive water use plan and ensuring accurate designation of floodplain areas.

We are fortunate to have a candidate with Dave Miramant’s expertise and concerns for Maine’s future. I hope you will join me in voting for Dave for State Senate District 12.

David Farmer

Cushing

Reelect Johnson

I am fortunate enough to have a job that has afforded me substantial health care coverage over the past 18 years, during which time I have faced several surgeries including breast cancer and all that goes with it. I say fortunate because, even though I work very hard to earn the benefits that come with the job, I consider myself extremely lucky to have the insurance.

I know too many people who have not, nor do they now, have access to affordable health care, despite the fact that subsidy was available to the state of Maine. I have friends who simply do not see a doctor, even when they need to, because the outlay of money is just too much. I know others who never consider surgery unless it was a life-saving procedure…not a choice, really, but a lifestyle where their health care and well-being come second to food and housing.

State Sen. Chris Johnson voted to expand Medicaid coverage to more than 70,000 uninsured Mainers, including 3,000 veterans, which would have ultimately contributed to the creation of many jobs and increased revenue for the state of Maine. Good health care practices are actually good for the economy. Chris believes that and he believes in investing in the people in his district.

As I approach retirement, and the time I will rely on Medicare for my health care needs, I anticipate that there will be gaps in coverage — it will never be as comprehensive as what I have worked for in the past. At issue might be prescriptions and medicine, not to mention the “what if” of a re-occurrence of cancer. Sen. Johnson also fought to restore programs to help the elderly pay for their medicine.

In a climate where seniors, veterans and families with children fear where the next doctor’s appointment is coming from, how they can afford the prescription that sustains their good health and where our service men and women can get the assistance and care they need to return to their jobs, I really want my state senator to be of the mind where the citizens of the district are number one priority. I want to be confident that health needs are among the very top priorities and I want a state senator who will fight for his/her constituency.

I’ve lived in Maine year-round for 37 years and am proud that I live in a state that really cares about its citizens — about lifestyle, work ethic, children, seniors, veterans, mothers, etc. I want to continue to feel secure in the fact that our elected officials believe that access to good health care is a right, not a privilege.

Sen. Chris Johnson demonstrates that belief and commitment every day in Augusta, which is why I urge everyone to reelect State Sen. Chris Johnson.

Daphne Lehava Stern

Bristol

More change

What a change from my childhood days when I stop to purchase an ice cream from an ice cream parlor. Something has happened recently — you not only pay for the ice cream that you order that has many flavors to select from — but you also have to pay for the ice cream cone and you have a choice of three different sizes of cones.

But this is not at every ice cream parlor or building at the side of the road that charges for the ice cream cone beside the price of the ice cream.

Enjoy the summer.

Gordon Wotton

Thomaston

Thanks from Jim

To anyone that was in anyway involved in the production of "A Night for Jim," the performers, sponsors, Studio Red, the parents who supported the performers, and all at the Camden Opera House. Sitting in the audience for that benefit show was so heartwarming and humbling for me and my family. Getting a serious diagnosis can feel isolating and yet the community support we have felt in the last few months has quelled any negative feelings brought on by this disease. The people of the Midcoast demonstrated how to see a need and fill that need based on their skill and what they love to do. They all can step into the future boldly and meet any challenge they face. There was so much love in that room on that night that I could not help but feel more healed when I walked out of the opera house than when I walked in. My family thanks you all from the fullness of our hearts, full because of all of you.

James Buckley

Rockport

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