Letters to the Editor

6/5 Letters: UNC should begin two investigations at North Carolina Children’s Hospital

Investigate surgery problems

The New York Times’ report on poor outcomes for cardiac pediatric surgery at UNC offers multiple lessons. For the individual the rule is, where feasible, no data, don’t go. They’ve nothing to brag about. UNC needs two independent investigations: (1) What are the cultural problems that led to the reported clinician behaviors? (2) Given the rate of growth and complexity of UNC Health Care, what needs to be done to make sure that the clinical leadership structure and clinicians managerial training is adequate?

Alert, respected leadership is the only way to deal with these issues. We expect physicians to report other physicians in the face of possible (and probably actual) professional retribution. As institutions and a society, we have to deal with both low volume and aging physicians. Older surgeons probably need special neurological and “road test” examinations or mandatory retirement. Given our antitrust laws, the volume (read quality) issue will have to be dealt with by insurers who can exclude smaller programs from their networks.

Curtis P. McLaughlin

Chapel Hill

Nothing proven

Had I written a report such as Robert Mueller wrote, when I was a criminal investigator, my superior would have personally taken my badge and credentials. What tripe.

“Investigation did not disclose any pink elephants in the bath tub, but we can’t say there weren’t any.” You can’t prove a negative.

Ray Couch


Goodbye teachers

A letter writer last week (“Consider the Cost,” May 29) was amazed that someone would take out a $200,000 dollar loan so that her son could pursue a degree in sociology because that degree only averages $57,000 dollars a year. Under that philosophy, it would be silly for anyone to pursue a degree in a low-paying job.

Right off the bat, goodbye teachers. They not only need a bachelors degree, but must continue to further their education at their own expense, and their pay scale is way lower than $57,000. What about people who go into internal medicine or pediatrics? They have the same loans as the surgeons, but with a way lower pay scale.

My only inference from that letter is that only people who don’t need college loans should go into low paying jobs. If you need loans, look up which jobs pay the most. I’m so sorry for that attitude. We will be losing a lot of good people in a lot of professions.

Phyllis Siegel, retired teacher


Strengthen gun laws

I am once again appalled by the report of another mass shooting, this time in Virginia Beach, this time killing 11 innocent people and this time buried on page 6A. Have we become that callous? That immune to senseless killings? When will people (voters and our current administration) wake up and realize more guns mean more killing?

Like many Americans, I have no problem with recreational guns for hunting, but gun laws must be strengthened, must become more strict and must be enforced. Wake up, America!

Terry Baker


One bad egg

The May 31 ‘limiting immigration for security’ letter quotes a mother’s adage about terrorists, stating that “It takes only one bad egg to ruin it for everybody else.” This, despite evidence that, in comparing random samples of US citizens with random samples of US immigrants, there are more lawbreakers in the citizens samples.

Now, if mom is also referring to our esteemed president, holder of an office considered one of the world’s most powerful, she could be onto something.

Bruce Wolfe


Electric vehicle tax alternative

Why not use the existing annual car inspection to gather the actual miles driven by an electric car through the previous year? That mileage number could then refer to an appropriate tax band to replace the road use fees collected from gasoline sales tax. The first year could be free and serve as a green incentive to go electric. The tax bands should be developed with consideration to the vehicle weight since heavier vehicles tear up the roads more quickly.

If this approach gains national support, we should consider removing the road-use portion of the existing gasoline price and apply the same methodology to all vehicles. This approach is easily adjusted as the need arises and the fee could be added to the vehicle registration charges, similar to the property tax assessment we see today.

Bill Powers