Strip Tease

Bonfire of the vanities: I noticed no byline on the Kansas City Strip column regarding the Kansas City Fire Department (August 2). Smart move, considering how ignorant it sounded.

The KCFD hired many new firefighters after the Hyatt Regency disaster caught the city off-guard. Those who haven’t DIED on the job will soon be collecting a pension, so our city has a legitimate need for new firefighters. They stay busy, too; ask anyone who lives close to Firehouse No. 19 in Westport. The fact that they’re allowed to sleep doesn’t mean they can sleep. True, they could cut corners to save some money; so could you! However, we need to ask ourselves if we want the brave souls who use the Jaws of Life to rip our loved ones from mangled automobiles to cut that many corners. Better yet, we should ask ourselves if we would work 49.5 hours a week with no overtime. Doesn’t sound like any of the union workers in my family!

The author insulted the mayor for dodging a loaded question. A) She’s a politician; dodging questions is in the job description. B) As the author said, Dave Helling wormed up “an old audit,” and Mayor Barnes is still relatively new. Did the author forget that, or has he or she been living in a cave with their fingers in their ears?

As for the accusation of abusing sick time, I cannot comment; I’m not an employee of the fire department. However, I can say that I’ve never worked in any job where that wasn’t the case, so let he who is without sin cast the first stone. I pray to God that it doesn’t take a firsthand experience with Kansas City’s bravest for the author to realize that the firefighters know how to do their job.

Patrick M. Toal

Kansas City, Missouri

Mind Over Bladder

H2Woe: I just finished reading Joe Miller’s article on water quality in Kansas (“The Whizzers of Oz,” August 9). This is easily the best article I’ve ever read on the topic. I’m a native of Hays, Kansas, and he pretty well captured the boneheaded, shortsighted views typical of most Kansans.

Thanks for making my day.

Doug Harvey


Labor Pains

Planet of the aches: I do not work for “Hell” Midwest, but I really appreciated Allie Johnson’s “Impractical Nursing” (July 26). Thanks to her and the editorial staff for covering this story! It is one that needed to be told, and apparently, no other news agency has had the courage to do so.

I have been a nurse for almost forty years and have worked in hospitals all of those years. The conditions she covered in her story are not new, just worse. Health care has become a BUSINESS, and nurses have been left out of the loop.

As the largest group of health care workers in the country, we need a stronger voice than our professional organizations have given us.

Again, thank you!

Mary F. Iseman

Kansas City, Missouri

Health to pay: I applaud Allie Johnson’s taking on this very important issue. What I cannot understand is why ANY of the nurses would have voted against being in a union. It is a sad commentary that nurses should have to unionize and fight their own management just to try to keep their patients alive.

I also don’t understand why more PATIENTS aren’t outraged. It cannot be that well hidden that nurses are overworked and sleep-deprived to dangerous levels. Where are the family and friends of those patients who waited hours for relief after pushing the call buttons, as reported in the article?

I also don’t understand why the large corporations in Kansas City aren’t outraged as well. The CEO of a large company will probably be able to afford his own private room. But why don’t his “bean counters” pull together figures of how much this company is paying for health insurance? Is he paying all that money for his employees to take off work to sit vigil in hospital rooms to make sure that the patient actually is “nursed back to health?” Is he paying all that money to risk losing an employee to a death that would have been preventable had a nurse actually been able to do his/her job?

I am also outraged that the “bean counters” would be so shortsighted as to keep short-term costs down while risking huge lawsuits, patient deaths and other long-term costs. Is there some hospital here where those shortsighted managers know they can go to, or are they just assured that no one they love will ever need care in a hospital?

Once upon a time, a hospital was thought of as a place where people “went to die.” The medical profession did not have the knowledge and technology they now have to save and improve the quality of lives. Is it really the aim of hospital management to gain the reputation again of being the place where people go to die?

Laura Harris

Kansas City, Missouri

Correction: In last week’s issue, the Night & Day article “Trash Talk” contained the incorrect first name for Gary Huggins of the Kansas City, Kansas, Public Library.