It’s a fact: colonoscopies save lives

To the editor:

Six patients who had endoscopies done at a Las Vegas ambulatory endoscopy center contracted hepatitis C as a result of careless practices administering anesthesia. This is a tragedy for the patients involved and their families. Hepatitis C is often a chronic illness that can last for a lifetime and can result in disability and death.

Another part of this tragedy is that the fear generated from this isolated occurrence will keep others from having necessary endoscopic procedures or surgery.

March is Colon Cancer Awareness month and a time during which there is a major public relations effort to encourage the public to be screened for colon cancer with a colonoscopy.

The events that occurred in Las Vegas are isolated, rare and result from not following standard safeguards regarding infection prevention, and are no more likely to happen in an ambulatory endoscopy center than at a hospital.

Licensed ambulatory endoscopy centers across the state are accredited by national organizations and follow the most rigid standards of infection prevention.

Last year, 490 Nevadans died from colon cancer. Ninety percent of these deaths could have been prevented with a colonoscopy. While our hearts go out for the tragedy of these six patients, let’s not let this event affect our efforts to save the lives of countless others.

John Gray, M.D.


Another ‘Big Dig’?

To the editor:

Chills went up my spine when I read that the Southern Nevada Water Authority had approved an expansion of the project labor agreement covering a planned pipeline from rural counties to Las Vegas (March 10 Review-Journal).

Why am I concerned? Because of the famous “Big Dig,” that travesty of a public works construction project in Boston, the one that was supposed to cost $2.5 billion and ended up costing nearly $15 billion. A project that also signed a project labor agreement, which meant that it had to be built mostly by “union craftsmen.”

One of the reasons cited by the project managers of the Big Dig in defense of the absurd cost overruns was being forced to pay union wages and putting up with rigid job rules and regulations. They said they were stuck and had no choice.

The Las Vegas Monorail, which is a complete financial disaster, supposedly will not hurt taxpayers because the county and state refused to put taxpayer monies into its construction. Can Southern Nevada Water Authority General Manager Pat Mulroy guarantee the same for her $3.5 billion water project?

In case you didn’t know it, the Big Dig is completed but still leaking like a sieve, and is being repaired by … yes, union craftsmen.

Norman Petz


Gun control

To the editor:

Thank you for the thoughtful column by Geoff Schumacher in the March 9 Review-Journal. In a letter of response published Thursday, Ernie Mathews concludes that “it is infinitely more constructive, though more difficult, to think than to feel” regarding the issue of the role of guns in our society.

I agree. But I question whether Mr. Mathews in his letter, or the Review-Journal’s Vin Suprynowicz in his accompanying March 9 column advocating arming citizens with more guns, are really drawing on our intellect or on our feelings. My sense is it’s the latter.

We urgently need a constructive, intelligent discussion about gun proliferation in our country. It is my observation that whenever such discussion is proposed, the National Rifle Association pulls out all its ammunition to squelch rational discourse.

The kind of emotional rhetoric used by Mr. Mathews and Mr. Suprynowicz, labeling those who raise questions about gun control as spouting “fuzzy, feel-good twaddle” is not intelligent. That says more about their feelings than about clear thinking.

A wise man once said, “Those who take the sword will die by the sword.” In our day: “Those who take the gun will die by the gun.” I wish that such intelligent, rational observations challenging us to do some difficult thinking would receive more consideration as together we seek alternates to the escalating gun violence in our culture. We owe that to ourselves and our youth.

Peter Ediger


Identity politics

To the editor:

If Sen. Barack Obama were a white male, would he be in his current position? A bit racist, but a thought-provoking question from former Democratic vice presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro nonetheless.

Here’s another: If Sen. Hillary Clinton weren’t Bill Clinton’s wife, does anyone actually believe that she’d be in the U.S. Senate?

Gordon G. Carr


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