Wait time variables

The ProPublica report on hospital emergency department wait times (“Study: wait times are lengthy at Triad hospitals,” Sept. 22) offers no surprises. “Wait times” is a descriptive metric, but otherwise provides little additional value. The only real take away: how overwhelmed this precious health care resource is in the present American medical industrial complex (MIC) environment.

Many of the confounding variables contributing to this measurement, and its questionable value, are not explored or discussed in the news article. These include, but are not limited to, differences in operational mechanisms between academic and non-academic emergency department settings; inappropriate utilization (more than 50% of arrivals can be safely managed elsewhere), corporate marketing to capture market share (money); unnecessary testing, imaging and consultations; the medical industry’s selling the “need for immediacy” to a health-neurotic, naïve audience (the worried well, etc.); and more.

As a 40-year veteran physician, 20 years of that spent in emergency medicine service, it has always been clear to me that these long wait times result from a confluence of issues. These include (a) poor patient volume flow management; (b) a captured, uneducated consumer/patient population; (c) commercial interests running amok; (d) corruption at multiple levels of product marketing, sales and employment; and (e) the effective MIC lobbying of government representatives who lack the courage to confront the profit-driven agenda and its ultimate implosion.

It does not need to be like this.

Dr. Stewart Cooper


A country classic

I recently watched the Ken Burns documentary on the history of country music on PBS. I gained a richer appreciation for how country music from its roots has been enriched by and continues to reflect the heart-felt passion of generations of people of every walk of life, whose music expresses their experiences, hardships, passions and yearnings for a simpler, treasured, more hopeful life lived as part of an unbroken circle of relationships built on family, faith, freedom and friends.

Its historical roots are sunk deep in the simplicity and hardships of country living as our ancestors toiled and nurtured the soil and farms to produce agricultural, livestock and other necessities of life reaped from the good earth.

In a small way, can we not respect and reflect our Piedmont Carolina roots and also honor the historical purpose of our regional fair for future generations by perhaps creating a fair called the “Country Classic Fair”?

Rick Sanders


A ‘liddle’’ problem

Friday morning, President Trump tweeted:

“To show you how dishonest the LameStream Media is, I used the word Liddle’, not Liddle, in discribing Corrupt Congressman Liddle’ Adam Schiff. Low ratings @CNN purposely took the hyphen out and said I spelled the word little wrong. A small but never ending situation with CNN!”

For anyone reading this who doesn’t see at least three problems with the tweet, show it to your children and ask them.

This is the president of the United States. It’s unbelievable. How low have we sunk to have a president who is so ignorant — and who wastes valuable time on such a trivial matter — and who started the whole thing with a ridiculous, childish attack on Rep. Adam Schiff?

It’s like we’re living in Bizarro World. We picked the most ignorant person we could find and said, “OK, you’re our leader now!”

Aside from the alleged crimes and misdemeanors for which he’s currently being investigated, we should impeach him just so we don’t have to be embarrassed by him anymore.

The tweet itself is trivial and hardly worth mentioning, except I fear it signifies larger problems. Much, much larger problems.

Rodney Page


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