March 6, 2013: Our readers write

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Insensitive comparisons

I am tired of Rick Pitino and John Calipari using military terminology when referring to basketball players and the game they coach. Calling games a battle, Pitino calling players warriors and Calipari saying a game between UK and the University of Arkansas was equivalent to “hand-to-hand” combat was insulting, degrading and a slap in the face to combat veterans from all wars and conflicts involving this nation.

I served in Vietnam 26 months — 16 months in combat — never hand-to-hand, but have two close friends who came face-to-face with North Vietnamese. One friend, Danny Clark, while serving with the 101st Airborne, was ordered to “fix bayonets” and charge after his unit ran out of ammunition during a firefight. Another of my friends, the late Sgt. Rick DeMarco, Lima/3/1, U.S. Marine Corps, Infantry, O311, 1966/1967, personally shared his story with me with no bravado and nothing but respect and reverence for his former enemy. DeMarco had to end a young NVA soldier’s life with his Ka-Bar, a combat knife. During those few seconds of sheer terror, according to DeMarco, he looked into that warrior’s eyes and was so close he could smell his breath. He had to take his life.

“It was either him or me,” DeMarco said. That NVA soldier and DeMarco, Mr. Pitino, were warriors, and that, Mr. Calipari, was hand-to-hand combat. In the future, I respectfully request, tone it down a notch or two with military terminology that means life and death to those who serve this nation in combat, compared to those involve in sports. If either of you would like to meet real warriors, I would gladly volunteer my time introducing you to men I served with in the 240th Assault Helicopter Company during the Vietnam War. I am also friends with other combat veterans, some infantry, GRUNTS (capitalized in my writings out of respect for men on the ground), combat engineers, and I would be glad to escort you to any of the national cemeteries in the commonwealth. I have no ulterior motive — I can’t stand sports and I am not looking for tickets.

Joe ‘Ragman’ Tarnovsky



Support for SB 9

I am writing this letter to ask for support for Senate Bill 9 — medical review panels. Presently, I am a licensed nursing home administrator at Elizabethtown Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Elizabethtown, and I am proud of the quality of care we provide to our residents and I am a strong advocate for quality resident care in Kentucky. Every day I work with many dedicated professionals who devote their lives to making sure that our frail and elderly residents receive the compassionate care they deserve. For many of our residents we become their extended or only family they have. Many times, the staff at our facility goes above and beyond to make sure that residents are cared for and remembered, especially for their birthdays and for holidays. In addition, I am proud to be able to say that at Elizabethtown Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, that we are very strong advocates of resident quality of care and that we are individuals who not only “talk the talk” but “walk the talk.” Whenever there is a decision to be made regarding a resident the number one question that we ask is, “Are we doing the right thing for the resident?” When we can answer yes, then we know we are doing the right thing.

As a professional working in the nursing home industry, I am offended by personal injury lawyers and their endless stream of newspaper and television ads that serve only to exploit good Kentucky nursing homes and demean the professional care that we provide to residents day in and day out. Senate Bill 9 is not taking away anyone’s right to file a lawsuit against a nursing home facility, bur providing for an independent medical opinion on the standard of care received at a nursing home facility.

I am asking that our state legislators support long-term care in Kentucky by focusing on our loved ones, not lawsuit. Please vote yes for Senate Bill 9 and implement Medical Review Panels.

Kathy S. Holderman, administrator

Elizabethtown Nursing & Rehabilitation Center