Thursday, February 11, 2010

Al Gore, Yea, Right!

Pittsburgh PA: 29" of snow.
Washington DC: 55" of snow.
Charleston SC: 6" of snow!

Damn This Global Warming!!!

Monday, January 18, 2010

But For the Grace of God...

On a recent trip to Morgantown, I encountered this man near the where Fairchance Road meets Route 68. He and his companion were just making their way through the world. The tempture that day was around fifteen degrees.

Friday, October 2, 2009

"Oh those poor, poor students!"

For the last few days, Pittsburghers have been hearing about those unfortunate Pitt students who were arrested during the G20 protests just because "they were in the wrong place at the wrong time." They claim that they never heard the police tell them to leave the area. They were just "observing" as "innocent bystanders." Yea, it's all fun and games til somesone gets hit upside the head with a baton!

Monday, September 28, 2009

And Another Thing...

What Is Breaking News???
A few months ago, I heard a retired Pittsburgh broadcaster talk about "breaking news" during her career a couple of decades ago. She said that back then, the newsroom broke into a broadcast when an event had occurred that changed our lives. "The president has been shot!" "There's been a disaster with the space mission" or "Tornado warning issued for six local counties!" But lately, we've been treated to breaking news stories such as "Shooting on Pittsburgh's North Side" and "Accident without injuries at a downtown intersection, traffic may be affected." Today though, I heard the best yet: "This breaking news just in... Large banner has broken loose in the wind... Crews are trying to tie it down!" Truely life-changing!!!

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Real Issues

Why don't we protest the stuff that really matters?

Monday, September 7, 2009

A Grave Misunderstanding

Prior to the Labor Day break, students in a horticulture class went on a campus field trip to learn about soil composition. The class' instructor dug up a section of earth beside the greenhouse. The dig measured about 2 feet square and was no more than 6 inches deep. The next day, a Horticulture staff member came across the disturbed earth, which had a root protruding from the center, and thought the former hole was a grave possibly harboring the remains of god-knows-who. This misconception was bolstered by the fact that the protruding root was mistaken for a cross.
As pictured here, it is easy to see the similarity. Based on this information, the discovering staff member called the police who conducted an extensive criminal investigation and, of course, found no decaying corpse.
There are those who wonder how someone could panic and call the police over some possible foul-play. Those people obviously never ate in the South Campus cafeteria.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

"If a man will not work, he shall not eat"

- Captian John Smith, Jamestown Settlement, 1609

Steeler Fans are Truely Everywhere

...even in Virginia!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

What's New From Idiot and Moron?

Gay marriage ice cream: Here is the latest from Ben & Jerry, (idiot & moron), who have been actively trying to raise monies to free a man convicted and imprisoned for the murder of a Philadelphia police officer in 1981. Mumia Abu-Jamal cowardly shot Officer Daniel Faulkner in the back and then, while the officer lay in the street, Abu-Jamal stood over the officer and shot him again in the head. What will be the next social crusade for idiot & moron? Ice cream flavors for the pedophile?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Aren't We Forgetting...

Ted Kennedy had many monikers: "Lion of the Senate," Statesman and Family Patriarch. So, what about coward who let a young girl die?

On warm July night in 1969, a drunken Kennedy drove his car off of the Chappaquiddick Island bridge. The vehicle landed upside down in eight feet of water. Kennedy got himself out, swam to shore and went to his hotel without telling anyone. Kopechne's lifeless body was found the next day by two local fishermen. The "great statesman" received a suspended sentence after being found guilty of "Leaving the Scene of an Accident."

Mary Jo Kopechne: 1940-1969

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Preserving the Family Setting

Gilligans is a restaurant outside of Harrisburg PA that prides itself on ensuring that their diners enjoy their experience in a "family setting". To help ensure that ideal, this sign is clearly posted on the front door. By the way, the food is nothing short of outstanding and their prices make it easy to feed the family as well!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

It Doesn't get Much Better Than This

My two kids enjoying the fire at our campsite in Ohiopyle State Park.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

How Far Have We Evolved?

Top: Antarctic penguins

Bottom: Ohiopyle humans

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Amen, Brother. Amen!!!

Why aren't more people like this?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

What a Bargain!

The message here is this: If you're going to violate the state's handicapped parking law, do it here because everywhere else the minimum fine is at least $125 !

Monday, July 6, 2009

Always Good Advice

Obviously a very old sign... made when children could fly!

Friday, July 3, 2009

"Marinate Your Head"

I just finished watching the HBO mini-series "John Adams" and I could not help but be struck by what an incredible leader, statesman, president and husband John Adams truely was. His skills as an orator moved men to action and guided a country. In addition to Adams, David McCullough's book gives the reader an accurate and factual look at all of the men who crafted the constitution and built the framework of our nation. If you have a passion for history as I do, you will enjoy this story while finding it utterly captivating. To write about the life story of John Adams, McCullough said that he had to literally "marinate his head" in all of the facets of this great man. Maybe we all need to marinate our heads in our own history.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

An Old Girl Gets a New Life

When I bought my 2002 Dodge Caravan new, I expected to get my money's worth but after seven years and 119,000 miles, I was ready to send the old gal to the bone yard. With the exception of a few minor repairs and some persistent transmission problems, she ran pretty good. I just thought that no one would want her with the high miles. Then one day, I was talking to my brother in Cleveland. He owns a remodeling and maintenance business and expressed a need for a vehicle that can carry a lot of "stuff." I then knew that the old girl had a new job.

An interesting footnote: One evening, my brother Jim affixed a Cleveland Browns sticker to the rear bumper. The next morning he found it laying on the driveway all mangled and under the rear tire. Dodge's first Smart Car!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Saturday, April 4, 2009

What's Behind the Badge?

I've been asked many times "What's behind the badge?" The answer is simple: Men and women who are husbands, wives, fathers, sons, mothers, daughters, brothers, sisters and friends. They go to church, attend their kid's football games, birthday parties and track meets, pay their taxes and work to support their families. They have the same hopes, goals and fears as we do. They look like, sound and act like us because they are us. What makes them different is the fact that they put their very lives on the line every day for total strangers. That is their gift to humanity.

On April 4 2009, a coward took the lives of three Pittsburgh police officers. They chose to risk everything to keep us safe so let us never forget their names, faces or the sacrifice they made so that we could sleep better knowing that they, and those like them, are on watch.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

New Newest in Chinese Cuisine

Another sign-maker NOT taught by nuns!

Monday, January 26, 2009

What Happens When Some are Not Taught By Nuns

The Handicapped signs are posted all over Monroeville Mall. The shellfishing sign is located in a wetland on the Chesapeake Bay and the construction sign is on Lebanon Church Road in West Mifflin Pennsylvania.
What is really scary is the fact that 30% of readers will be scratching their heads saying "Ok, I give up... what is wrong with these signs?"

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Friday, March 21, 2008

Post Easter Employment

Ever wonder what happens to all of the Peeps that aren't utilized during the Easter holiday? They get other jobs, of course.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I will never forget my friend Mark Nemerovsky

(The following is Mark's eulogy as it was read at the funeral service)
It didn’t take me long to realize that the hardest thing I’ve ever had to write was Nemo’s eulogy. I struggled for quite sometime with it trying to find the right words to illustrate my friend. I then realized that the problem wasn’t with my ability, but the fact that there aren’t enough words that could possibly do justice to describing the man we all loved and will truly miss.

It is said that a person’s success is measured not by money, not by the amount of material possessions or fame that they attained in life. Success is measured by the number of people who we let surround us and can be called true friends. As we look around us here today, it is easy to see that Mark Nemerovsky was a very successful man.

Those who knew Nemo the Ambulance Chief and public safety specialist know that he was not only a professional but also a perfectionist. When it came to getting something done, there was only one way and that was Nemo’s way. Most of the times I can remember, Nemo’s way was the right way.

Those of us who were lucky enough to truly know Nemo the person, know that he was a good talker and a good listener. I recently spoke to a former Duquesne police officer who told me that while trying to decide on a major job change, one of the people whose opinion he trusted and valued most was Marks.

If there was a serious issue, Mark took a side. He was well known for his passion as he would vigorously defend his stance. One of the words that would best describe Mark was “involved.”
He was the City of Duquesne’s Emergency Management Coordinator, he served on the Civil Service Commission, he was the Emergency Services Director for the city, member of the school board, a former volunteer firefighter, a brother Free Mason, a member here at Christ the Light of the World Church and the Director of the Duquesne EMS.

Yesterday’s Tribune-Review’s obituary article accurately headlined “Paramedic Fought for Duquesne Residents.” Mark loved Duquesne and he truly cared about those who live here.

As a police officer in Duquesne, I have faced countless perils and dangers but nothing could have prepared me for what I was in for as a school board member, a position only Mark could have persuaded me into taking. His example, leadership and dedication was clearly evident as he worked tirelessly to better the quality of education for the city’s children.

He worked hard to try to better our community. That work included, some years ago, making a bid for mayor of Duquesne. A few of us supported Mark amidst accusations by some who have no concept of honor or integrity that we support Mark because we were promised positions if he won the election. The fact was, and still is, I supported Mark because he was my friend.

Mark was an honorable man who never compromised his principals. Refusing to stoop to dirty politics, he lost that bid for mayor but not without bringing something new to the table: He brought integrity – a concept mostly foreign to politics, especially in that election.

It could be said that Mark had a way with people and some ways were more interesting than others. Back in the 90’s, some of you may remember, the Duquesne EMS hosted a fair up at Polish Hill. We dealt with carnival workers who have a reputation of being, shall we say, less than trustworthy. There was some sort of an arrangement with a percentage split that depended on the day’s receipts. I remember Nemo in one of the office trailers counting money one evening when the carney manager tried to change the counts and thus cheating Nemo and the Duquesne EMS out of quite a bit of money. Mark, being meticulous and exacting, always had the right counts. The next night, the carney Manager walked into the money trailer again only now on the table with the money was Mark’s .45 cal. pistol. The counts were never questioned again.

If you knew mark, you occasionally became the victim of his many antics. I remember once having had to train a brand new impressionable young police officer. We had an accident call on 837 (where else) and saw the ambulance driving to the scene with a black Navigator flying low close behind. I knew this was my chance for a little payback. We took care of business at the scene and just before we cleared, I told the rookie officer “Go tell that ambulance jockey in that black SUV over there that if he don’t slow it down, you’re gonna jam him up.” He walked up to Nemo and after a few seconds I saw Mark’s face get beet red. The officer looked back and pointed to me then Nemo looked at me and yelled something about paybacks. For sometime after that, I seemed to be the one to get the call for the heavy lift assists.

Now, it’s hard to think that he’s gone. Although his passing is proof that bad things do happen to good people, it’s time to remember that he is now with God who loves everyone here. After all, if God didn’t love us, he wouldn’t have given us Nemo.

We will keep going and we will move on with our lives but not without taking the memory of Mark with us. I know that I will forever carry the memory of his smile, his sense of humor and his kind heart. I will miss my friend.

There’s so much more I can say about my brother but for now, that’ll do it. So Mark if you’re listening (and I’m sure you are), watch your finger there buddy, I’m going to hang up now.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Your Life Story in Six Words

Early this week, two authors were featured on a national morning television show. Larry Smith and Rachel Fershleiser talked about their new book: "Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure." The book book was created from submissions for a contest launched by Smith Magazine. Contestants were asked to write six-word stories of their own, as memoirs. The idea grew out of an old legend that Ernest Hemingway, while in a bar (where else), was challenged to write a story in only six words. I found this to be an interesting concept and challange that I could not resist. Tell me yours... I'll tell you mine.

Been there. Did that. Not done!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Finding My Family

(From March 2007)

I didn’t know my father. What I knew of him came from stories told by family members and by my mother who hated him intensely. As I grew, I had many questions that were either ignored or answered inaccurately, so by mistake or by design, I was misled about who my father really was and the role he played in my life.

I was born in 1962, three weeks to the day after my parents were married in a civil ceremony standing before a county judge. What a sight my mother must have been. A sight not so common let alone socially accepted in 1962. Within months, my parents had split with my mother filing for divorce shortly thereafter.I wish I could say that I had a happy childhood but by the time I was six weeks old, I had a broken leg due to a suspicious crib accident. This was only the first of many like incidents as my mother raised me on her own.

I was told many times that my father was rotten, worthless and no good. She also rarely missed the opportunity to tell me that I was sure to grow up and be just like him. At fifteen, I left home and never looked back.

Now that I’m older and hopefully wiser, I like to think that I’m open-minded. I’m a police officer trained to look at all perspectives and recognize that there are two sides to every story. However, hearing nothing but negative comments from my mother for all those years left me angry but happy that he wasn’t in my life. I’ve been asked many times if I ever wanted to find him and the answer has always been a quick and bitter “No!” If ignorance is truly bliss, I was blissfully satisfied to leave well enough alone, that is until one day when my, then girlfriend, now wife went digging. That’s when I discovered that nothing was as I was told.

My wife is as inquisitive as she is intelligent and beautiful. Having excellent computer skills combined with a working knowledge of genealogy, CSI Sarah, as she’s been dubbed, can find anything and anyone on-line. While doing some of her own family research, she checked the marriage records for the State of Pennsylvania for my mother and father and much to our surprise, she found it. Finding the record here in Pennsylvania truly was a revelation because much of my mother’s family believed that she and my father eloped to another state to wed. The legal age to marry in Pennsylvania was 18. Because my mother was only 17 at the time, she needed parental permission.

We located the county they were married in and obtained the marriage license. I soon learned what no one in the family ever knew… my grandmother signed off on the marriage giving permission for my mother to wed. This was a secret that my grandmother took to her grave. I also learned another fact I was misled about, the fact that my father was also 17 and not “a few years older” than my mother. Both were very young, probably very scared with my mother being very pregnant with me. The marriage license had a lot of information including my father’s date of birth and with this, I knew there was much more to discover.

It’s difficult to explain but what I once cared nothing about soon sparked my curiosity. Just the few new facts that contradicted what I was originally told pushed me further to want to know. I wondered how much more there was to learn that was either told to me incorrectly of just kept from me all these years. I soon realized though that Sarah, bless her inquisitive little heart, was going to find out more about my family whether I wanted to learn it or not.

The first stop in the hunt was the social security death index. It was there I found my father. He died in 1992 at the very young age of 48, just five years older than I am now. As surprising as the age he died was where he died. I remember being told that he had family in Ohio and perhaps Michigan but there was never any mention of Tennessee. Rhone County, Tennessee to be exact. So, the next step was to find the obituary. This would perhaps give some insight into some of his family, how he died and maybe even how he lived. I called the local newspaper that referred me to the local library that referred me to the local historical society. After being put on hold briefly, a very nice gentleman from the Rhone County Historical Commission pulled the obituary off of microfilm and read it to me over the phone as I took notes.

The obituary read that my father left behind two sisters, a brother, a wife and five children (not including me). I was stunned to say the least. Taking my notes from the telephone conversation, Sarah went to work looking for phone numbers based on the names and cities from the obituary. Before too long, we found a number that could have possibly been his sister Lois in Cleveland, Ohio.

Everything moved so fast. It was that morning that we went to the county courthouse for the marriage certificate, searched the social security index, made numerous calls to Tennessee and researched possible matches to the names in the obituary. Although it was late in the afternoon and I was emotionally exhausted, I knew in my heart that I had to call that number. I also knew that if I thought about it too long, I may never dial it. Even though through that entire day I was driven to know, a voice inside told me to leave well enough alone. Ignoring the voice, I picked up the phone and dialed the Cleveland number. It was a call that changed my life.

I asked the voice on the other end of the telephone, “Is this Lois Bennett, the sister of Daniel Burns?” She said yes. Not wanting to scare or shock her, I told her that I was doing some family research but when she insistently asked, “well, who are you?”, I told her that I was Dan, her brother’s son from Pittsburgh. She then replied, “Oh my, I remember you. We always wondered what happened to you.” We talked briefly and arranged for me to call back a few hours later. I hung up the phone after a five minute conversation and knew immediately that I had opened a door not knowing where it would lead.

Gathering myself mentally and emotionally, I called back a couple of hours later with a list of questions to ask about family history, heritage and medical issues. Having three children of my own, I knew it was important to learn all I can about my father’s medical history. The news wasn’t good. He died of a heart attack being overweight, a heavy drinker and a very heavy cigarette smoker. After talking with my aunt Lois for a while, I gained a whole new insight into what kind of man my father was and the things she told me left me flabbergasted. She told me of incidents pertaining to my mother that I previously got only her side of the story. One in particular was the episode where I was hidden by my father’s mother in a dresser drawer. The story told by my mother was that my grandmother was attempting to take me from her. My aunt Lois however, tells a different tale. My father and his mother were protecting me from one of my mother’s many violent tirades. After fifteen years with her, this is the story most believable.

Aunt Lois went on to tell me of a time that my father sat and cried about not being able to raise me himself after losing me to my mother. She and I talked for a while but when the conversation turned to family history, she referred me to my half-brother Jim. She had called him that afternoon after our first conversation and told him to expect my call later that evening. The interesting thing was that before that day, Jim had no idea I existed. Jim and I talked for hours and I learned that my father was a loving, caring man who maybe wasn’t perfect but did his best to be a good parent. He taught his children to do right by themselves and others without raising a hand in anger to any of them.

Shortly after making contact with my father’s side of the family, we traveled to Cleveland, stayed for a weekend and met just about everyone. I learned that Daniel Joseph Burns had in fact eight children, seven boys and a girl, of which I am the first. Although not all of us have been united, with regard to Jim’s two brothers, Bill and Jason, immediately we formed a bond with Jim and I especially becoming close. We aren’t half-brothers, we’re just brothers.

During the weekend in Ohio, I was welcomed with open arms not as a new friend but as family. It was overwhelming and emotional as only then did I realize that a very big part of my life had always been missing. Growing up, many people felt sorry for me because I never had a family, but now I do. I must admit though, when I made the initial phone calls, after forty-three years I expected to hear something like: “It was nice to hear from you, have a nice life, stay in touch, etc.” What I didn’t expect was the level of love and acceptance I received. The best surprise was the fact that the nicest people I ever met in my life would turn out to be my own family.

Friday, February 15, 2008

I Admit it, I do Love the Job

(from September 2007)

Immediately after my back injury I didn’t really think too much about what I would be missing as an active duty police officer. As time goes on, however, I find myself missing the job and all it meant to me. Although my wife would absolutely hate it, I would love the chance to get back to work and fight the forces of evil (in and out of the police station. I'll share more on that in my new blog "Back of the Badge."

The best thing about the job is the friendships and bonds that are formed with those whom you work with. One of the many “good guys” on the job that I had the absolute honor to work with was a man named Brian Hughes. To myself and many others, Brian was the kind of guy, and officer, you could always count on. As patrol partners, we had a lot of good times as I recall more than one occasion I nearly wrecked the police car laughing so hard. It wasn’t all fun and games though as together we caught a lot of bad guys. Brian and I made a good team and it’s that camaraderie that I miss.

One winter, while working night turn, I had the flu so bad, it was an effort to drag myself to work especially after being in a jury trial all day. For that week, all I recall was getting into my police car in the city garage after 11:00 pm and Brian waking me up just before 7:00 am. For the whole shift, he took all of the calls and literally did all the work while letting me get the rest I badly needed. That’s the kind of guy Brian is.

On the lighter side, one of my funniest, yet most disturbing memories was the day Brian and I hit the drive thru at McDonalds. Now, as police we’re always a little leery of the staff at our local Mickey D’s. Between the guys on parole and the women who were jilted after a bad date with someone on our police force, you never knew what extra goodies awaited you under that innocent looking sesame seed bun. It’s one of those “Don’t think about and it’ll go away” things. This day, however, Brian and I couldn’t avoid the paranoia. After we ordered, we were asked to pull up to a space in the parking lot. An employee will “bring it right out”. After a few minutes, I felt a bit uneasy as to why it was taking so long. It was then I looked back toward the restaurant to see a handful of employees with their faces pressed against the glass looking at us. With their eyes as big as plates, half were fixated on us as the other half were watching the young girl approach the police car with our bag. All of them were snickering.

She walked toward our car as if she had just drawn the short straw in some sort of a weird human sacrifice lottery. She handed the bag to Brian through the car window and literally ran back to the restaurant. Needless to say, that bag met the first dumpster we could find and that night we ate at Dairy Queen (you can watch them cook your food there).

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Message of Love, Eighty-eight Years Old

The other day, my aunt received a Christmas card from our cousin. Enclosed was a letter that was recently discovered in her mother's belongings. It is an 88 year old letter that was written to my then 6 month old grandmother by her 22 year old brother, a soldier fighting in France during World War I. The letter is dated April 8, 1919.

"Dear Little Sister,

Having not seen you yet but having heard so much about you I thought I would write you a few lines of course knowing that you will have to wait some time before you are able to read it, that you have a brother in France who is very anxious to see you and I am sure that you have another brother who is also over here that is anxious to see you, and we expect to be home and see our new sister soon.

Hoping this finds you well and that I may soon be home with you I am your anxious, brother Bill."

My great-uncle William Quinn did return home to see his new sister, my grandmother. Unfortunately he died in October of that same year after being exposed to mustard gas. William's brother, Peter who also served in France, returned to the states after the war but also died as a result of exposure to chemicals at the front.

The true mystery about this letter may be the fact that since it was found in her older sister's belongings, it poses the question: Did my grandmother ever read it? I guess we'll never know.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Dirty Little Bugs of Jefferson Regional Medical Center

It seems appropriate that the first topic of my new serious issues blog titled “Write From the Hip” is about tribulations that my father-in-law has endured after “routine” hip replacement surgery.

A good man who worked hard all of his life to take care of his family is now enduring adverse medical ramifications due to a few who are arrogant enough to believe that the rules just don’t apply to them. What makes this problem worse is a hospital administration that is either unwilling, or unable, to enforce the protocol that is established to ensure the well-being of their patients. MRSA stands for Methicillin Resistant Staph Aureus. In short, it’s the hospital based infection that that is spread from patient to patient/person to person sometimes by unclean surgical rooms or items in those rooms but usually by the health care staff themselves.

My father-in-law has nearly been a continuous patient at Jefferson Regional Medical Center since he was admitted on Saturday, August 25, 2007 for post operative complications after hip replacement. According to his doctors, he was diagnosed with having MRSA at the surgical site. Although it is undetermined where and how he got the infection, I have observed and documented a deliberate disregard for my father-in-law’s health and safety at the hands of a few of his providers. Although I believe that most of those tasked with Albert Manns’ care follow the rules and proper patient protocol, the following are scenarios that put him as well as other patients at risk:

On Monday, August 27th, a nurse on the third floor was tasked with starting an IV line in the patient’s right arm. After numerous attempts, she was unsuccessful and asked another nurse to assist her. While Angela was attempting this procedure, she was not wearing gloves. On Wednesday, August 29th, a nurse or nurse’s aid came into the room on the third floor to change the patient’s dressing. She saw that the bio hazard trash can was overflowing (see photo) and while wearing gloves pushed the trash down into the can. She then began to attempt to change the patient’s dressing without changing her gloves. She was stopped by the patient’s wife. Carrie did change her gloves but not without an indignant attitude. He was transferred to the fifth floor after he tested positive for the MRSA infection. Joke number one: It was an “isolation” ward where specific protocols were “supposed” to be followed.

On Monday September 3rd at 5:00 pm, another nurse’s aid came into the room to take blood pressure and temperature. When I saw that her hands were bare, I asked her why she wasn’t wearing gloves. She replied, “I washed my hands.” I said that there was a sign outside the patient’s room (the pink “Resistant Organism Isolation” sign) and was it not true that the reason for that sign and protocol it stated was to protect the patient as well as the staff member? Her answer again was that she washes her hands before coming in the room. She then left the room. At 5:15 pm, she returned to the room to retrieve the dinner tray. I said nothing to her but she asked me, “Do you have a problem with the infection in his wound?” I said, “No, I have a problem with the fact that there is a specific protocol that should be followed according to the posted sign outside and that you have chosen to ignore it.” Her reply was, “I wash my hands all the time… that’s more than most people in this hospital can say!” I said again, “The paper posted outside clearly stated gloves and/or gowns to be worn by staff members. Are you aware of that rule?” She said that she hadn’t worked on this floor for three months. I asked, “Were you trained in that protocol?” She replied that she was. I asked if she agreed with these protocols for the benefit of the patient. She answered, “Yea, kind of.” At that point she said, “Well I just won’t come in here at all then.” To that I asked if she were then denying this patient care and I asked if she were a health care professional. She then left the room without answering either question.

On Saturday, September 8, a nurse extern came into my father-in-law’s room at about 8:25 pm to retrieve his water pitcher. She entered without wearing gloves or a gown and was told by the patient that she had not put gloves on as per the policy. Her response was, “Yea, I know,” but still made no attempt to put them on. She was asked by the patient to put gloves on because she would get into trouble. She just said, “No, I won’t.” She then took his water pitcher out of the room for, in her words, “disposal” and returned to the room again with a new pitcher without washing her hands or wearing gloves. On Monday, September 10 at about 8:00 pm, one of his doctors stopped in his room and examined his surgical site. Not only did he not wash his hands before or after examining the site, he did not wear gloves or the gown as protocol dictates. It is assumed that this doctor had returned from surgery as he was wearing scrubs.

On Tuesday night, my father-in-law was to be released and sent home. For this to be achieved he had to see one of his own doctors to give the ok. He, and the family, were told that he would be released at about 2-3 pm. After waiting for nearly nine hours, he was seen by yet another doctor in the same practice. This doctor entered his room at about 9 pm and sat down on the bed. No gloves, gown, washed hands, etc. When asked by my wife if he would please wear gloves, he curtly replied, “I’m not going to touch him.” Probably the biggest joke is that there is a sign that hangs in every patient’s room that states, “It’s ok to ask” and that proper hygiene is important. My experience is that it’s obviously not ok to ask. If you do, you get a load of crap from nurses and doctors who are just “Holier that thou.”

In conclusion, I’d like to know why are these flagrant rule violations tolerated by the hospital administration. I spoke with patient care managers and even the manager of infection control at the hospital. The conversation was filled with “How terrible and unfortunate this was” and “Oh, thank you for bringing this to our attention”, but the overall attitude was, “We do what we can and if it doesn’t work, sorry about your luck.” I was told by one of the doctors and one of the floor supervisors that they both would wish to fire the nurses and nurse’s aids for their actions. But both said that they are union and just couldn’t be touched. Jefferson’s staff is filled with many nurses, doctors, and nurse’s aids who are professional, caring and just excellent health care providers. It’s a shame that they also have on their staff a few arrogant, ignorant, thoughtless and unprofessional idiots who put their patients in danger. It’s unconscionable and downright criminal. Based on a report published by the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council published in November of 2006, the state average for hospital infections is 12.2 per thousand. Jefferson Hospital’s average is 28.7, more than double the state average but when I asked the patient care and nursing supervisors about these figures, the answer from each was, “Well, reporting procedures can be inconsistent and numbers are often skewed.” It’s interesting to me that when Great Britain is taking steps to ban health care workers from wearing jewelry and lab coats as they carry these infections easily, the administration at Jefferson can’t even get some of their people to wear gloves or wash their hands.

I want to reiterate that 98% of the doctors, nurses, nurses’ aids and staff members at Jefferson are true professionals who obey all of the rules and do care for their patients. I’m sure that they, too, are angry as it takes only a few to give the entire staff a black eye over something so simple yet so dangerous.

Welcome and Introduction

Initially, I created the blog Been There, Done That and that than rolled into Write From the Hip. Here is where I wanted to create blog that would highlight some of the more serious problems we all may face. Although many of issues are personal, most of them pertain to each and every one of us in one way or another. These topics will include good (and bad) parenting, raising children, hospital safety and even police corruption. So when you find that there isn't enough aggravation in your life and have a few extra minutes, sit down, log in, and hold on because we'll have some very interesting things to share.