After reading about the lack of medical students who choose the field of geriatrics, I think it is a shame that the older population is the "forgotten" age.
When I was able to go to work at the age of 16, I wanted to work in a home for the aged. That was in 1964. I retired this year at the age of 65 and still love working with the elderly population. I have been an LPN since 1967 and have spent my entire working life in nursing homes.
I would love to know why this field doesn't have more interest. Don't medical students know that there will always be elderly people? Is it that the reimbursement for treatment isn't as high as in other specialties? Is it that doctors and nurses don't want to take or don't have the time to listen or figure out what an elderly, sometimes confused person is concerned about? Are we so concerned about the dollars we earn that we have stopped being really concerned about people?
I think it is sad. An elderly person has a lot to share if one just takes the time to listen. Sure, it might take time; certainly it will take patience. Everyone needs to realize that we all will get old and might need a helping hand at some point. Who then will be there for us?
If you have an elderly parent, aunt or uncle, take the time to give them a little more love. You will miss them when they are gone.
Jeanne Bittman, LPN, Dade City
Atwater upset with PIP rates | Nov. 30
New law won't fix system
Florida drivers should be aware of major changes that will take place in a few weeks in the event they are in an automobile accident. These changes are the result of personal injury protection, or PIP, legislation passed by the Republican majority in the Senate and House this year. The bill was passed with the help of a massive effort by the auto insurance lobby.
The new law will require all injured drivers to seek medical attention within 15 days of the accident or be denied coverage. It also restricts PIP coverage to $2,500, although Florida law says that you must purchase $10,000. The only way a patient can use the $10,000 in PIP is if the insurance company agrees with a physician that the injury is an "emergency medical condition." Talk about putting the fox in charge of the henhouse.
It is unclear if common injuries like disc herniations and rotator cuff tears will be approved. Very likely, they will not. Massage therapy and acupuncture, both viable and natural alternatives for injuries, were eliminated. The new law also increases the amount of time the insurance company can pay a doctor or hospital and subjects all involved to a lengthy "examination under oath" to get approval for treatment.
The law stated that insurance companies must lower rates by Oct. 1, 2012, or provide reasoning why they did not. It should come as a surprise to no one that very few insurance companies lowered their rates.
Since the PIP system is broken, the Legislature should pass legislation to join the majority of states that require all drivers to carry what is called bodily injury coverage. This type of coverage requires the at-fault driver's insurance to pay for damages. Responsible drivers will pay less for coverage and poor drivers will pay more.
Dr. Marc J. Rogers, Largo
Florida water bodies are in excellent hands Dec. 4, commentary
Sadly, column was no joke
When I saw the guest column headlined "Florida water bodies are in excellent hands," I assumed it would be satire, perhaps a Colbertian evisceration of DEP's epic failure to protect our precious rivers, lakes and springs. But no: Drew Bartlett is seriously trying to defend his agency.
Never mind that the Department of Environmental Protection under the current administration has not exactly covered itself in glory. DEP acquiesced in agribusiness giant Lykes Bros.' plans to run a road through the marshes near Fisheating Creek, a public waterway. It issued an extravagant and ecologically indefensible wetlands mitigation permit to Highlands Ranch for land that is not wet. Then there's the agency's hysterical resistance to numeric standards for the nutrients that have turned large sections of the St. Johns, the St. Lucie and the Santa Fe rivers green with toxic algae.
I agree with Bartlett when he says DEP's scientists are dedicated professionals who work nights and weekends. They aren't the ones we have to worry about. It's political appointees such as DEP Secretary Herschel Vinyard and his deputy Jeff Littlejohn. For them, Florida's environment is just another business opportunity.
Diane Roberts, Tallahassee
Sun City Center
Things have changed
Del Webb would not recognize Sun City Center today from the retirement community he established over 50 years ago.
He would not understand why there are commercial trucks and vans parked in the driveways or on lawns. He would certainly not understand why an 18-wheeled semitrailer cab would be parked in front of a house for several days and nights. Let's take care of these issues before deciding on architectural designs for new buildings in the community.
My wife and I have been visiting Sun City Center for over 25 years and moved here permanently 2 ½ years ago. Over the 25-year period, the town has slowly shifted from a retirement community to a blue-collar, working-class neighborhood.
Bob Kelly, Sun City Center
Tough talk, no deal yet | Dec. 5
We had an election
The Republican offer to (1) raise the age for Social Security, (2) lower the cost-of-living adjustments on Social Security, (3) decrease Medicare and Medicaid assistance, and (4) impose no increase on taxes for the wealthy is why Barack Obama won the election.
Can you imagine if Mitt Romney had won? This would be a done deal. And the Republicans still back these same leaders? They don't care about the average person.
Carlos Gonzales, Oldsmar
In West Bank, joy, challenge | Dec. 3
World ignores the Kurds
That the U.N. General Assembly voted to recognize Palestine as a nonmember state is all well and good. But it makes me wonder about how 4 million people get such special treatment while 25 million-plus Kurds — who have been in their own homelands for hundreds of years, and are oppressed, to put it mildly, by every country they are in — get ignored. Is it because every member state they're in is Muslim-majority and therefore the 57 Muslim-majority countries that form a bloc agree to keep them from independence? Maybe. Is it because their aspirations for freedom have no lobby on the world stage? Is it because the Palestinians can be used as a wedge issue among other member states to keep their populations distracted from their own abysmal failures?
One never knows, but one thing is certain: Demonization and delegitimization of Israel continues apace, and the United Nations ignores many other humanitarian issues it faces.
Bob Tankel, Dunedin
Casting another line at Bass Pro | Dec. 1
No corporate handouts
Spending our taxes to lure a retail/tourist operation is not sound fiscal stewardship. There is no realistic economic development pitch you can make to justify this corporate welfare and low-paying jobs.
This area doesn't need to encourage retail development. Established local businesses that paid our fair share don't need our County Commission picking which favorites they back with our tax dollars. This company's modus operandi is taxpayer handouts. Don't do it.
Retail/tourist stores are not the kind of economic investment we expect. We demand economic investment that brings real, full-time and good-paying jobs, not the temporary, part-time and minimum-wage jobs being proposed.
Gene Wells, Tampa
Doctors back texting-driving ban Dec. 4, letter
Issue hits close to home
It's something short of a miracle that I can even offer this letter of support for a ban on texting and driving.
I was stopped for a traffic signal on my Harley on U.S. 19 in Holiday in February 2010 when I was rear-ended by a texting driver. I spent three months in the hospital recuperating from a broken hip and pelvis. Fortunately, I have returned to as healthy a state as can be hoped for a 72-year-old.
Why has Florida not acted on this issue?
David M. Childress, Palm Harbor