Letters to the Editor

Wired for Sound

The displeasure of her company: After reading Patricia Calhoun's "Carry On!" in the June 12 issue, I think Westword should sponsor a contest for the worst story about flying in the next few months. The winner gets to spend his or her entire summer vacation at DIA. Ms. Calhoun's company is optional, with or without her flip flops and underwire.

Henry O'Brenden
via the Internet

Abreast of the news: I can't get Patricia Calhoun's underwire bra off my mind. I checked eBay, and it's making me crazy, and I can't find it. How much money does Westword want for that underwire bra she wore on her trip to St. Louis?

Westword is "sold" like the rest of the papers. Jesus! They call this a city?

John Sturtz

Nursing a Grudge

Hospital zone: Bravo and kudos on Stuart Steers's remarkable "Critical Condition," in the June 12 issue. As an employee (CNA) of another hospital, I recognized a similar management train of thought to try to make our hospital "Best in the Nation" by increasing customer-satisfaction scores.

While I may not agree that unionizing would be the best cure for what ails our health-care system, there might be some other alternatives. To wit: If all of our lawmakers had to suffer through a serious illness while being covered by Medicaid (if they have any coverage at all), perhaps the insurance industry would not have such a stranglehold on everything, and care could be delivered quicker. However, I think a better and more plausible approach is to listen to Admiral Hyman Rickover: Have the top brass be willing to push brooms (or push gurneys or wipe asses) in order to save money and demonstrate to the rank and file how committed they are to health care and the patients. Then they might get the customer-survey numbers they want.

Anyway, keep up the good work!

Tim Ferree

A heavy load: I just wanted to thank you for your story on nurses in Colorado trying to unionize. My mother worked in the same hospital as Bernie for over twenty years. St. Anthony Hospital may have ended up killing the union by invoking fear in the nurses, but many still respect and even admire Bernie for her efforts to bring the nurses the working conditions they deserve. Working sixty to eighty hours per week may have provided my own mother with a suitable income, but I, too, am glad that she was loving, caring and smart enough to not let this constant workload affect her own patients. I only worry about what she lost in her own life -- time taken away from her own children and, eventually, her marriage.

Valerie Valverde
via the Internet

Health and welfare: I wish to thank Westword and Stuart Steers for the recent article on Denver Health nurses seeking to unionize. I am a registered nurse who had left the field and returned after a break of several years. The issues nurses face today are not new; they are the same ones I saw in 1990 when I first entered the field. The only difference is that now it is worse. Management still looks to feather its own nest first, the investors' nest second, and somewhere around the bottom of the list is the welfare of the patient. The only thing I can think of that has a lower priority is the welfare of the staff.

Name withheld on request

Taking care: I just read Stuart Steers's article about nurses, and I can't believe the way they are treated. The reason for this letter is to tell you that I feel doctors don't do shit. It's the nurses who do everything. They do the IVs, give you meds, give you a bath if you need it.

When I had my surgery, I was in the hospital for fourteen days. I will never forget the nurses I had; they took great care of me. Even today, when I have an emergency, I still feel the nurses are doing all the work. I hope for my sake and the sake of every other person who needs medical care that the nurses stay -- because they are the only people who care about the patients.

I'd also like to say a great big thank you to all the nurses out there.

Name withheld on request

Editor's note: In a photograph accompanying Stuart Steers's story, Paula Stearns, executive director of the Colorado Nurses Association, was incorrectly identified as Pat Uris, director of the Colorado Board of Nursing. Our apologies.

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