LETTERS

Thursday, March 8, 2013: Who should be drug tested, making your own decisions

Posted March 07, 2013, at 2:36 p.m.

A family’s thanks

The Hamlin family wishes to express its sincere gratitude to the Cyr Bus Company, Mike Cyr, Rick Vaillancourt and Rick Soules for their assistance and support after the accident that occurred in Georgetown, Mass., on Feb. 26, involving Jeff Hamlin, the University of Maine girls basketball team and its coaches.

It is so very much appreciated during this most difficult time.

Sandy Hamlin

Brownville

Helmet freedoms

This letter is in response to Dr. Erik Steele’s Feb. 28 column about mandatory motorcycle helmets.

I ride a motorcycle. I wear a helmet. They have some nice ones now that are light and Department of Transportation approved.

However, I oppose helmet laws. The next time you’re in your car, don a helmet and bang your noggin on the side window or door or anything else that is inches away from your head and made of steel or glass.

Now take it off, and do the same thing. Throw some broken glass at your head with, and then without, a helmet. Set off your air bag while wearing a helmet, then try it without one.

Far more people get head injuries in auto crashes than motorcycle crashes. Why do we pick on an unpopular minority such as motorcyclists, when we could save many more lives by requiring all motor vehicle drivers and passengers to wear helmets?

What about freedom? You can’t nanny every aspect of a person’s life. When is a person old enough to make decisions regarding his own protection?

According to people like those who support helmet laws, never.

Charles Barstow

Perry

Drug testing, of course

Random drug tests for welfare recipients? Of course, because we want them to spend the largess on food, transportation and shelter, not on drugs.

Random drug tests for recipients of tax expenditures for mortgage deductions, charitable deductions and reduced tax rates for capital gains? Of course, because we want them to spend the largess on home ownership, doing good works and investing in the nation’s economy, not on drugs.

As it is said: Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

Paul Smith

Orono

Tom’s “five” fans

Count me among the five readers that Tom Hennessey referred to in his final column for the BDN. From all 500,000 of us who have ever hunted ducks, grouse, deer or rabbits and fished for everything from bass to Atlantic salmon, thank you to Hennessey, for all of his insightful columns and wonderful artwork.

He will be missed from the pages of the BDN, but his artwork will grace our homes forever. All the best to him from all “five” of us!

Ed Baum

Hermon

Like everybody else?

Thank you, Rep. Paulette Beaudoin, D-Biddeford, for telling the good people of Maine that welfare recipients should be drug tested “just like everybody else.” Most people probably didn’t know that “everybody else” was being drug tested.

I, for example, am 54 years old. I have never received welfare, and I have never been drug tested.

Then there’s Beaudoin herself. How many times has she been drug tested?

But perhaps the good representative has a point. Perhaps we should all be drug tested. Perhaps she, as a retired person and possible Social Security recipient, should be drug tested in order to receive said Social Security.

After all, the federal government shouldn’t be awarding public funds to people who use their assistance to purchase illegal drugs.

And what of the legislators who bless us with their wisdom? Should they not be drug tested before devising the laws under which their subjects live?

Surely this is more important than testing folks who receive a few thousand bucks of public money. Perhaps all citizens should be drug tested before being allowed to spout off in public in favor of really bad ideas that have already failed court challenges.

Lawrence Reichard

Orland

Indentured servants

Here we are in the 21st century, exploring the possibilities of life beyond Earth, debating colonization of Mars, while still killing each other by the millions here at home. We’re a long way from the station.

Our endless wars about whose religion is right, whose social and political doctrines meet God’s standards, whose resources must be exploited regardless of the human or environmental cost, must make us suspect in the eyes of any galactic governing board with jurisdiction over planets wishing to join the club.

If God weighs our performance against the other 195 countries on Earth, the best we could hope for is an indeterminate period of indentured servitude with at least 1,000 years probation.

Since the United States claims to be the most powerful nation on Earth, the notice is likely to come to us. Hello, America, we are sorry to inform you that your application has been denied.

Chris Young

Caratunk

Ask more questions

My condolences and thanks to Kathy Pollard, who wrote the March 4 article, “ Sometimes doctors don’t know best.” Thanks to her for sharing her experience with misdiagnosis.

Published studies are showing us that misdiagnoses happen in 15 to 28 percent of all medical cases in the U.S., yet the issue is so rarely spoken of or addressed.

The needless suffering and billions of wasted health care dollars misdiagnosis presents should be making us all ask, “What should we be doing to fix things?”

For starters, patients need to ask more questions and not hesitate to seek an expert second opinion. Policymakers must take solid steps to encourage hospitals to collect and examine misdiagnosis data, and medical students and physicians must be trained in new ways.

With overburdened doctors sometimes seeing more than 30 patients per day, time constraints are often the catalyst for misdiagnosed cases.

To reduce those misdiagnosis numbers to something much closer to zero, patients, care providers and policymakers alike must commit to making the lifesaving adjustments the system sorely lacks. Until this happens, we can only expect to see more of the same.

Evan Falchuk

Vice Chairman, Best Doctors Inc.

Boston

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