Forum, Dec. 17: DHMC’s struggles are its own fault

Published: 12/16/2021 10:00:38 PM
Modified: 12/16/2021 10:00:04 PM
DHMC’s struggles are its own fault

In a recent press conference about COVID-19 hosted by Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, CEO and president Dr. Joanne Conroy stated, “People who could have avoided hospitalization are occupying beds and taking resources that are needed by other critically ill patients and all because they or somebody close to them refused to be vaccinated.”

Would Conroy have the same attitude about patients staying in the ICU following a heart attack precipitated by decades of smoking and unhealthy eating? What about an IV drug user who suffers with liver cirrhosis, already having had a few visits following overdoses? Or an alcoholic who drove drunk, crashed into a tree and was airlifted to DHMC?

No, she certainly would not, because it the responsibility of doctors and nurses to take care of any person, no matter the reason. But to Conroy, it must be acceptable to publicly shame those who have chosen, by their own personal analysis, to not be vaccinated.

Was her goal to coerce people into vaccination out of shame, or maybe fear? If so, then she is delusional and likely to do more harm than good. A statement like that only fuels the “digging in” of those who do not like to be told what to do. Is she hoping that this statement will make those who are not vaccinated less likely to seek medical help if they do become infected with COVID-19, so as to not put more burden on her already highly burdened hospital?

My suggestion to Conroy is to admit it is the hospital’s own staffing and policy that has gone overlooked for years that is contributing to its inability to provide care for ill patients.

Could staff have be maintained if a parking garage were built to help alleviate the parking headache, instead of a new patient tower? What if Conroy allowed those who have not gotten the COVID-19 vaccine — nearly 40% of Americans — to be employed within her hospital system? Would DHMC then be able to provide all its patients with the proper care and resources?



A radical Christian takeover of the US

A recent article in The Guardian newspaper documents the acceleration of what I view as the attempted evisceration of our Constitution by vile and seditionist evangelical Christians in America.

The article cites work by Frederick Clarkson, senior research analyst at Political Research Associates in Somerville, Mass., who in 2018 “exposed the existence of a Christian supremacist initiative called Project Blitz, which aimed to flood state legislatures with bills undermining the separation of Church and State. A 116-page strategy manual laid out the plan. ...” The article noted that “radicalized Christian nationalism is a growing threat to American democracy, as a relatively small but incredibly organized faction (is) working to turn the country into something resembling a theocracy.”

For decades I’ve complained about the continuous violation of the constitutional division between church and state, such as Christian prayers held during meetings of governmental bodies like state legislatures. The nightmare scenario of the United States of America becoming a fundamentalist Christian theocracy has more than begun, most obviously with the recent ruling by the politicized, right-wing, conservative Supreme Court upholding what I believe is the unconstitutional Texas law prohibiting abortion.


Newbury, Vt.

Vote Joe Kenney out of office

After reversing his last decision to reject federal COVID-19 dollars, one would hope District 1 Executive Councilor Joe Kenney learned to think a bit more clearly before making decisions. But he must have played hooky the semester analytical thinking was being taught in school. Once again he has betrayed the trust and welfare of his District 1 constituency by voting to confirm Jared Chicoine as commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Energy (“Chicoine confirmed as Department of Energy commissioner,” Dec. 10). As Executive Counselor Cinde Warmington points out, Chicoine admitted himself that he “lacks technical expertise in energy and knows little about climate change.”

And this is the guy Kenney voted for to lead our state’s Energy Department? Seriously? Kenney stated he didn’t think experience was important because there were other individuals heading up departments that had no expertise in their areas. That’s a stellar third grade justification for bad behavior — well, they were doing it too! Personally, I never bought that line from my kid. Just because “they” were doing it doesn’t make it right.

As citizens of the Earth, we only have one pass at managing energy and climate change and getting it right. There are no do-overs in this arena. Our children and grandchildren will be living with the consequences of our decisions today. Shouldn’t we have someone guiding us who has the technical expertise and knows the impact climate change has on our state, nation and world? One would hope Kenney would’ve thought more carefully about this and demonstrated some concern for his constituency before going along with the crowd. But he didn’t. Again. He allowed his political motivations to overwhelm common sense.

Good people of District 1 — red, blue and purple — we all deserve better than Joe Kenney. Elections are coming in November. Vote Joe Kenney out of office.



It’s time for us to embrace net-zero

The headlines of late tell a sad story “Housing off the rails,” “Yet another bond going to vote,” “Rolling blackouts possible this winter.” The next stories will likely be “Utilities lobby for more natural gas pipelines,” “Rents double as energy costs spiral,” and “The pain at the pump is not sustainable.”

As I write this, Mayfield, Ky., is in the news with record-breaking tornado devastation. Climate change is here and only beginning to verify what many scientists have forecast.

On a recent ride through Lebanon and around the Upper Valley, I have seen numerous housing projects that are surely “code compliant.” Building code-compliant projects in today’s world is really irresponsible and unacceptable. Anything less than net-zero should not be allowed.

Building net-zero adds minimal cost but reaps huge benefits. Net-zero simply means that buildings are built with proper insulation and air tight so that, with solar or wind power, a building’s annualized energy use is equal to the renewable energy created onsite.

For the skeptical among us, in 2012, Richardsville, Ky., built the first net-zero K-12 school. Last I checked, the school was receiving a check for $35,000 a year from the utility. Just imagine paying nothing a month for heat, hot water and electric power.

In a move that is unbelievable, the supposed “leaders” in New Hampshire just rolled back the System Benefits Charge, an approximately $4 charge on everyone’s electric bill that funds NHSaves (“Energy efficiency decision sends a chill,” Nov. 17). NHSaves provides energy audits, energy efficiency rebates, etc., with a mission to reduce energy use for consumers. Instead, New Hampshire has decided to, through federal funds, increase fuel assistance. This certainly had to be lobbied for by fossil fuel industries.

The next change needs to be that all towns in the Upper Valley embrace battery electric vehicles for use in fire, police and public works for the same reasons as net-zero: For a modest increase in first purchase price, operating expenses plummet.



SEVCA seeking petition signatures

Southeastern Vermont Community Action Inc., known as SEVCA, has worked since 1965 to help people throughout Windsor and Windham counties to lessen the impacts of poverty and empower individuals to lift themselves out of poverty. Now, we need your help.

The assistance that SEVCA can provide includes crisis fuel, help with overdue rent, mortgage or utilities, weatherization, furnace or heating repairs, homelessness prevention, applying for 3-Squares and SNAP benefits, thrift stores, financial fitness, preparing income taxes, and help to start or keep small businesses open.

During the 2020-21 fiscal year, SEVCA helped 27 households in Woodstock, providing 81 services valued at $21,467. In Bridgewater, we helped six households, providing 11 services valued at $15,007. In Reading, we helped 25 households with 43 services valued at $49,883.

We are asking now for your help. We need to file a petition in each of these towns asking voters to put a request on the Town Meeting ballot. We are asking Woodstock for $3,000, Bridgewater for $1,000 and Reading for $700 to help us continue providing services for these towns. This petition requires signatures from 5% or more of registered voters. We need 160 signatures in Woodstock and 45 in each Bridgewater and Reading by Dec. 31. Signing this petition will help put the question on your Town Meeting ballot in March. It does not guarantee that we will receive this funding. Signers are simply giving permission to have our request placed on the warning.

Woodstock petitions are at the Norman Williams Public Library, Thompson Senior Center, Woodstock Farmers’ Market and Ace Hardware. Bridgewater petitions are at the Norman Williams Library and at the Bridgewater Corners Country Store. Reading’s petition is at Watroba’s General Store.

For questions about the petition, or if you need SEVCA’s services, please email or call me toll free at 800-464-9951. Thank you for taking the time to go out and sign this petition supporting our request.


Westminster, Vt.

The writer is executive assistant at Southeastern Vermont Community Action Inc.

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