Letters to The Editor – April 18th 2018

Published 5:17 pm Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Bike trail vs. a turn lane

Editor, Smithfield Times
Kudos to Albert Burckard and his letter in the April 11 Times, “Clearing for the bike trail.” And if you want to enjoy this scenic carnage, try driving Battery Park from Smithfield to Nike Park Road between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. You will have plenty of time to take in the view as you join the line of 50-plus other cars waiting to turn right onto Nike Park while some vehicle waits for the light to change waiting for the light to change, allowing it to continue along Battery Park Road.
What this corner screams for is a right turn lane. Instead, we get a bike trail for a handful of the population. Yes, I am suggesting that the trail dollars could have been better spent constructing a right turn lane at the aforementioned corner. That would serve a good many grateful drivers.
Willamena Thomas

No thought to environment

Editor, Smithfield Times
I cannot agree more with Albert Burkhard’s recent letter addressing the total destruction of many trees in the area of the bike path. It would appear that zero consideration was given to the environmental impact when the path was laid out. Certainly minor deviations could have been incorporated in order to preserve the majority of the trees.
Certainly bikers should be able to navigate minor path changes without difficulty. And, I think it will get worse as “progress” moves toward Nike Park. Leaving some of the trees and other growth would have somewhat offset the ugliness of the slab that is the bike path.
Ed Mortimer

Questioning Surry costs

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Editor, Smithfield Times
Every four years, the citizens of Surry County have the opportunity to select the members of our Board of Supervisors. Voting is just a portion of our civic duty. It also involves keeping informed and participating in the decisions of our locality.
To the residents of Surry:
Do you know that the Surry Seafood Restaurant is owned by our County, and thus by the citizens?
Do you know that our County’s current debt is approximately $16 million dollars? ($5925.00 per household)
Do you know that our County is proposing in the new 2019 budget to borrow another $6.4 million? (Potential tax rate impact of 1.5-cent tax increase.)
Do you know that the County’s proposed budget five-year plan includes $16.7 million of new expenditures which includes $12.9 million of new debt?
Do you wonder what these expenditures are for and how they may impact our citizens and you?
If you would like to be better informed, and be involved in an open forum where you can state your opinion on the direction of our County and region, join us at our monthly meeting. Concerned Citizens Association meets on the 4th Thursday of each month. This month’s meeting will be April 26 at 6 p.m. at Surry Recreation Center in Surry. For more information call 804-892-1969 or email: Surrycountyconcernedcitizens1@gmail.com.
Thomas Byrd 

Truth in treatment

Editor, Smithfield Times
I recently met with a patient who was diagnosed with throat cancer and metastases to his lungs. He was on a feeding tube and his weight was down to 109 pounds. A surgical procedure that he underwent this past June in an attempt to remove the cancer had permanently robbed him of his speech and his ability to ever eat or taste food again. He spent 2 months after surgery in a Skilled Nursing Facility sharing a room with a stranger. After 2½ months of being away from his home, he was discharged.
His family contacted my office in September due to his rapid decline and because he had no direction or conversation with the multitude of healthcare providers that he had encountered over the course of his diagnosis, surgery, hospitalization and skilled nursing admissions. Unfortunately, he is just one of thousands of patients who yearly undergo non-beneficial treatments and are left with the physical and emotional scars. What little time he had left, he was now denied the joy of simple things such as tasting his favorite foods.
When I first met this patient whom I will refer to as “Joe” to maintain his privacy, he wrote on a piece of paper, “quality of life.” I wonder how many times he verbalized those words to the healthcare providers he trusted before he died on New Year’s Eve. As a practicing nurse, I have seen terminally ill patients die in hospital ICUs. These patients were subjected to non-beneficial exams and treatments, which resulted in increased pain, anxiety and needlessly prolonged suffering. I know many other nurses who feel the same way.
Compassion & Choices, which advocates for patients to have the full range of healthcare options, introduced a new initiative last November called Truth in Treatment™. The goal is to bring awareness to the growing number of patients with life-threatening illnesses who are receiving non-beneficial treatments.
The “Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has also recognized the importance of end-of-life care decisions. In an effort to facilitate end-of-life care discussions with patients, CMS is now reimbursing physicians to participate in these discussions. However, less than one-third of physicians report having had any formal training specifically on talking with patients and their families about end-of-life care.”
The responsibility of Truth in Treatment starts with all teaching medical institutions. Without incorporating end-of-life care discussions into the curriculum and limiting physician’s exposure to only a “curative” approach to healthcare, they are doing a disservice to the doctors and the patients in which he/she will be entrusted. Death is inevitable. Truth is a right. Knowledge is power.
Wendy K. Smith
Richland, Wash.