Letters from the Issue of August 18, 2005

Dolphins squeaking, nurses freaking, readers shrieking

Carlos Galarza

Miami

Speaking as a Nurse

I can say conditions at JMH are grim:As one of the Jackson Memorial Hospital ICU nurses who took care of Forrest Norman's mother-in-law following her transplant ("Disappearing Nurses," August 11), I must say that we fight to keep our patients in intensive care as long as possible. Unfortunately once the patients are on the floors at Jackson, they are subject to uncaring nursing assistants who move like molasses through winter.

Currently hospital management is in negotiations with the registered nurses at Jackson. They are trying to take and take from us. We continue to struggle to give good care, but it is not surprising to hear that staffers have short tempers, are arguing, and do not do their best. Blame Jackson president Marvin O'Quinn for the lack of professional performance. People who feel they are appreciated, respected, and needed will ultimately go the extra mile for patients.

I wish I could say that things are looking better for the nursing care at JMH. However, for the immediate future things look grim, especially on the hospital's general wards. Staff regularly are overworked, have too many patients, and face poorly maintained environmental conditions.

We salute Forrest Norman for bringing to light some of the problems at JMH. We hope this becomes a change agent in our struggle against the odds to take care of our patients.

Name Withheld by Request

Miami

Speaking as anAdministrator

I can say JMH is about quality care: We are writing in response to Forrest Norman's "Disappearing Nurses," his story about his family's experience at Jackson Memorial Hospital's transplant center. We strongly feel the article is misleading and sensationalized, and does not paint an accurate picture of the quality of care we provide to all patients.

We take patient complaints very seriously and investigate all instances in which an individual has received anything less than world-class care at our hospital. In fact all patients are given a Patient Bill of Rights upon admission that highlights who to contact should any patient have a concern during their stay. We take issue with much of the information presented in the article. Mr. Norman provides a detailed account of the problems he saw during his mother-in-law's post-liver-transplant stay, but never filed a formal complaint with the hospital.

In addition Mr. Norman says he personally witnessed two other incidents in which a patient was not immediately attended to, yet was unable to provide us with any details that would allow us to investigate these matters further.

Our entire staff is deeply committed to providing quality patient care, which is why the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center consistently ranks among the top U.S. medical centers for total solid organ transplantation. Our teams perform more than 400 lifesaving adult and pediatric transplants each year. All of our patients are provided with the best opportunities to receive new organs, and enjoy a longer and better quality of life. We also provide support from our transplant team 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In a patient-satisfaction survey, West Wing 15 received an 83.4 percentile rating in nursing care and a 92.6 percentile rating in the likelihood to recommend friends and family to the unit.

We will continue to offer excellent care from a multidisciplinary team, state-of-the-art treatments, the latest immunosuppressive therapies, and all the resources that make us South Florida's leading academic medical center.

Joseph Rogers, senior vice president

Jackson Health System

Miami

Gripes R Us

Free weekly relishes role as community vent venue: Wow! Your readers are fired up. Witness a sample of the offerings from the letter-writers in the August 11 issue.

1. Jasmine Naylor is angered that in the West Grove, black people are victims in a lost battle against developers.

2. Henry Gomez is offended that a previous letter-writer attacked Cubans in South Florida.

3. Mervyn Solomon mentions the persistent anti-gay prejudice in this community.

Bravo. I like to see involvement, even if it is just a letter to the editor. (While we're at it, as a Sicilian-American, I believe that stereotyping in the mold of The Sopranos is a giant step backward in our advancement.)

So thanks to the New Times for inspiring passion in your readers.

Tony Scornavacca, Jr.

Coconut Grove

Terrible Things Happen to Ordinary People

No one is safe from everything all the time: It is a scary world out there, and if it were not for journalists like Bob Norman, it would be even more frightening. His series about Donna Weaver, her missing husband Gary, and Operation Airlift is excellent ("Forever Missing," August 4, August 11). It proves that anyone can be caught up in a terrible event -- anyone. Most people live their lives under a blanket of security, believing that "someone" will keep them safe, "someone" will make it right.

Who do they think that person is?

Susan Purtee

Columbus, Ohio

Editor's note: Bob Norman's series continues in this issue. See "Forever Missing, Part 3" in the Metro section.

Not Missing IntensityA widow, her children, and my sympathies: Reading "Forever Missing" is quite an intense experience. I feel deep sympathy for the poor wife and children of this murdered father. Fortunately for her, New Times's Bob Norman wrote it.

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