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Letters to the Editor

 

June 11, 2020



To the editor,

This letter is in response to the letter to the editor in the June 4 issue of the Dayton Chronicle. My name is Wayne Hill and I am a proud member of the Dayton High School class of 1957. After high school I attended Pacific Lutheran University for four years. From there I continued my education at the University of Washington School of Medicine, followed four years later by a year of internship at Deaconess Hospital in Spokane. After internship I served for two years as a physician in the United States Air Force. Following my military service, I returned to the University of Washington for another four years of training to be a specialist in the field of Obstetrics and Gynecology. At the age of 34 I finally finished my schooling and began a medical practice that lasted for over 43 years, delivering or assisting in the delivery of over 10,000 babies, performing thousands of surgeries and emergency procedures. When delivering babies or performing surgeries I wore a mask, sometimes for many hours at a time (along with lengthy hand scrubbing, gowning and gloving). Even though it was at times a little uncomfortable, I wore that mask, not to protect myself, but to protect my patients. Evergreen Hospital, where I worked for those 43 years, was the original epicenter of the COVID-19 virus outbreak due to a large outbreak in a near-by nursing care facility that was ill-equipped for infection control measures. Due to the fact that Evergreen had a contingency plan in place for a situation such as the virus presented, it was able to capably deal with the issue, curtailing the spread and issuing guidelines to both the medical community and the surrounding community.

COVID-19 is a virus that is spread from person to person by droplets that are expelled though the nose and mouth when an infected (though often asymptomatic) person coughs, sneezes, talks, sings, breathes forcibly, spits, etc. Covering the nose and mouth with a mask prevents the droplets containing the virus from passing into the surrounding air and creating the possibility of infecting others who may be vulnerable to severe illness or death. Additionally, each person that an unmasked person exposes has the potential for transmitting the virus to family members, co-workers and others (including the newly recognized “heroes” in our communities–health care workers, grocery store employees, delivery people, truck drivers, etc. One person refusing to wear a mask in public areas has the potential of infecting many other people, some of whom may be their own closely loved friends and family members.

I finally retired from my medical practice four years ago at the age of 77. I am 81 years old now and, therefore, a member of the group classified as “vulnerable” to the effects of COVID-19. However, I am in good health and, despite being “old” feel that I still have a few valuable years remaining. I am a good “Papa” to our 8 grandchildren, am a community volunteer, an active member of my church, and try to be a good and helpful neighbor. At this time my wife and I are voluntarily self-isolating, but like to get out for a daily walk (masked and socially distancing of course). We also “mask up” for the weekly early morning “senior hours” trip to the grocery store.

I am disappointed that Governor Inslee needed to encourage citizens to wear masks to protect each other from contracting COVID-19. I would have expected my fellow citizens to care enough about each other to voluntarily “mask up” (which they are doing in our community of Kirkland, Wash.). Besides medical masks people are wearing cloth masks with entertaining designs, political statements, beautiful colors, etc. I personally enjoy wearing my UofW Husky mask and have ordered a Seattle Mariners one also. Wearing a mask is a signal to others that you care. What can be “dehumanizing” or “humiliating” about desiring to not cause harm to other human beings? One of the important conclusions that I have come to realize over my many years is that being caring, and/or helpful to others makes one feel good about themselves. So be kind and “mask up”!

Wayne Hill, M.D.

Kirkland, Wash.

Dayton High School Class of 1957

To the editor,

It is understandable that many Americans, especially those of European ancestry, express minimal outrage at the George Floyd killing in Minnesota. Their family or “their people” are not much affected. They don’t worry much if they encounter the police. When racial atrocities occur and there is little concern by the majority, we may encounter an “us versus them” phenomenon. This can lead to name-calling and eventual genocide, according to Dr. James Waller, author and former Whitworth faculty member. In fact, white people should realize that when calling police on a black person, it could result in death.

Reverse the situation. Imagine a forty-six-year-old handcuffed white man being crushed under the knee of an African American police officer for more than eight minutes until he can’t breathe, basically rocking on the man’s neck, and not until three days later, arresting the primary offending officer for 3rd degree murder.

Known as law enforcement officers, police are paid and trained to protect not murder. Errant police officers should be publicly identified along with the victims. If police officers’ names are etched in public discourse and history, and they are held accountable, they might consider the gravity of their despicable behavior and refrain from it.

How George Floyd was murdered is sickening if done by anyone, let alone law enforcement officers. Let’s demand our country live up to our ideals of equality. Let’s get active.

Nancy Street

Cheney, Wash.

 
 

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