The nursing profession has been under duress this past year and a half due to COVID and some lack of appreciation. I was told during my recent time at M Health Fairview Edina that they have been extremely busy with all the post-COVID catch-up procedures. My experience at the M Health Heart Center, where I had open heart surgery, brought me up close and personal to many of these dedicated health care workers, appreciative of their positive and caring attitude under a heavy workload. I have to say I received the best and most empathetic care I could have wished for.
For example, the senior nurse in the ICU that first night mothered me as I dealt with pain and confusion. Through the two days, regular ICU staff were there for me on a moment's notice, always solicitous of my needs.
When I moved to the regular ward, there was a parade of nurses and assistants at all experience levels coming and going, either on shift or off shift. The handoffs were smooth with no dropped balls. Instructions were clear and executed on schedule. The patient (me) was always kept in the loop.
What struck me most, however, was the quality of junior nurses in their 20s with typically two to three years' experience behind them. I have to say we are raising up a cadre of nurses today who are amazing. These young nurses were competent and professional. Better yet, they carried a joyfulness, a willingness to engage and truly sympathetic hearts. Our hospitals and clinics will be in good hands as these "cuspers" (lodged between millennials and Generation Z) move up into increasing responsibility.
My thanks to all of you.
Harald Eriksen, Brooklyn Park
They don't know what's wrong. That's why they're there.
Though a Monday letter writer had a significant issue that brought him to the emergency room ("UnitedHealthcare has a point," Readers Write, June 14), was he observant enough to see that the child with an upset stomach did not have imminent appendicitis, that one adult was not having an impending attack of gout, or that the other adult was not experiencing an acute sinus infection? The existence of emergency rooms stems from the notion that most people don't have the ability to sort out what is serious and what is not. Are some cases inappropriate? Of course,but in the throes of disturbing symptoms, how are most people to react?
More to the entire issue is that UnitedHealthcare has backed off — for now — on its plans to analyze emergency department billings and then decide if visits are "worthy" of compensation ("Insurer delays ER payment shift,"June 11).Readers of recent Star Tribune articles, also known as potential patients and emergency department users, are due transparency as to how decisions were made: Was it simply a group of number-crunchers asking, "How can we save more money and make even more of a profit?" Were any physicians involved, especially those involved with emergency medicine care? How detailed were the records reviewed, given that different caregivers signing off on a patient, no matter where the location, could potentially code the same problem in different ways? (Codes are the numerical identifiers of diagnoses that are submitted to insurance companies for reimbursement.)
Those who utilize UnitedHealthcare on both ends of the process deserve more. Are there people who could utilize services other than ERs? Sure. Are there people who will not use ERs because they will be concerned with getting stuck with a bill? Absolutely. Are there people who will become gravely ill or even die because they are frightened by potential financial consequences? These latter patients will end up costing UnitedHealthcare even more because of a delayed decision, except for those who pass away and will never cost the company another penny.
Paul Waytz, Minneapolis
The writer is a retired physician.
It never ceases to amaze me, even after working in emergency rooms for over 30 years, that one patient can and does claim other patients are there for no good reason. A letter writer claimed he had to wait for four hours "in excruciating pain" while others had no right to be there — how dare he make that assumption. Does he know if the patient with an upset stomach had any past medical history (injuries?) that might make it more than whatever he thought it was? The adult with a headache: Does he know if he/she was on blood thinners and might have a brain bleed? Or high blood pressure? The sore ankle: Does he know if that person has a history of bone disorders? There are many extreme emergency symptoms that have no pain — retinal detachment, for example. Pain alone does not make you the only "real" ER patient. Sorry.
It's bad enough that nonmedical people at a health insurance company want to question a patient's choice, but a lay person sitting in the waiting room — that takes the cake.
Sarah Fuller-Gipp, Lakeville
The writer is a registered nurse.
Justice for whom, exactly?
In coverage about the recent protests in Uptown, the story "Juut leaves Uptown as interests clash" (front page, June 14) states that "A social justice battle is being waged ... ." This statement is a perfect example of obscuring the truth. It's completely biased as it provides no subject. It's passive voice, neglecting to tell us just who is waging this social justice battle. It implies authority without naming the authority. Are people who loot, paint graffiti, threaten safety and generally make areas of the city uninhabitable by residents and businesses alike some hidden authority waging a social justice battle? And who is the enemy? Their fellow neighbors and the businesses that supply jobs? Is the destruction of neighborhoods about social justice or anger? If there is a truth to this battle, then stand up and state it in the Legislature, with votes, at the Minneapolis City Council, in front of school boards, in local churches and other forums. Don't destroy our neighborhoods, please — whoever you are.
Karen Storm, Minneapolis
A hard-earned reward
Congratulations to the Star Tribune staff on receiving the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news! ("Honors for bearing witness," front page, June 12.) The coverage of the events last May and June were hard to read, brought humanity and reality to the tragic events that occurred and were compelling as we witnessed the backlash following the death of George Floyd. The very public killing of a man who was many things to many people, whose humanity and flaws became public and polarizing, and the events that spun out of the emotions of the people in Minnesota and all over the country deserved special handling, and the Star Tribune did an amazing job, as did other local news and media outlets. Bravo! And it's gratifying to see that young Darnella Frazier's brave actions received a special citation by the Pulitzer Board.
I love this community. I'm proud of the compassion and benevolence displayed, even as we saw anger and violence. Bravo!
Kristy Harms, Lakeville
Better yet, just read about them
Michael Rand reports that Sinclair is a season away from streaming the Twins directly to subscribers ("$23 a month for just one channel?" June 12).
Here's an idea:Subscribe to a paper.
Print and radio is a great way to follow the baseball season.It takes me back to the mid-'70s (the era of my peak interest).The Twins had a roster of windup .320 hitters, with limited power, criminally mismanaged by Gene Mauch.Rod Carew, Larry Hisle, Steve Braun, Glenn Adams, Lyman Bostock, Dan Ford and the Jerry Terrell/Rob Wilfong platoon could have scored a run an inning.But Mauch played a leadfoot, station-to-station strategy waiting for the long ball.
This edition of the Twins merits less concentration.That's another advantage of print media.You can follow the season by investing 20 minutes — half that if you learn to skip past the Rocco Baldelli quotes (always lengthy, unfailingly inconclusive).
M. Warner, Minneapolis
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