As a radiologist who has worked at several hospitals, I have noticed unnecessary scans in emergency rooms practically everywhere ["Study: Some scans in ER unnecessary," News, Feb. 21].
A major reason is that faster decisions need to be made about keeping or discharging a patient from the ER. Most of the CT scans are done even before the blood and urine test results are back! This is a terrible way to practice medicine.
The eyes of the concerned authorities are shut tight regarding the high volume of CT and MRI scans. Many diagnoses can be made without radiation or with a much cheaper ultrasound examination, when done properly. But there is reluctance by referring physicians, who choose not to rely on the expertise of radiologists.
Many radiologists also choose not to educate or constantly battle with referring physicians. Physicians, including radiologists at teaching and nonteaching hospitals, are reluctant to change the system and prefer to stay on with the way they have been practicing medicine for years.
Unnecessary scans could be minimized by the ER physician giving a tentative diagnosis, rather than a vague one, such as headache, groin pain, etc. The radiologist should read the tentative diagnosis, talk briefly to the patient or relative regarding the condition, look at prior records and modify the examination accordingly.
Communication has become more and more difficult over the years, leading to too many unnecessary procedures.
Dr. Sharada Jayagopal, East Williston
Long Island pols budgeting badly
After reading yet another Newsday article exposing the exorbitantly high salaries paid to Nassau and Suffolk public employees, I want to ask why ["Highest paid workers are at Suffolk's jail," News, Feb. 22.]
Why are teachers, police, correction officers, and even some dog pound employees, making six-figure salaries, while within the private sector, this pay level is the exception? Why do elected officials constantly cite the high cost of government at every level, yet have no problem paying out these salaries?
Why is there no oversight on the use of taxpayer dollars to fund public employee salaries and benefits? It's time our elected officials are held accountable for the high taxes they regularly impose on Long Islanders and are so willing to give away.
Frank S. Farello, West Babylon
Population change won't bring peace
Thank you for "Peace & population" [Feb. 23], a news story about the growing Palestinian population in Israel and the potential effect on peace negotiations.
While demographics may play a role, they will not be the determining factor. Many previous attempts at peace have failed, and the main reason is the mistrust between the parties.
Palestinians see the Jews as an imperialist outside force, and Israelis see themselves as redeemers of their ancestral land.
The Palestinian Authority, purported to represent all the Palestinian people, has demanded that Israel return to pre-1967 borders. This would place the center of Israel's population within a day's walk for invaders or terrorists.
Regardless of any demographic predictions, it is doubtful that Israel will place itself in existential danger with indefensible borders.
Robert R. Weiss, Melville
Editor's note: The writer teaches a course on Israel's wars of survival in Stony Brook University's lifelong learning program.
Fracking's a loser for Pa., New York
I had to laugh to keep from crying over the letter that said Donald Trump could win an election for governor and open up New York to hydraulic gas drilling ["Trump could win, and allow fracking," Feb. 21].
The writer cited Pennsylvania as a state that is booming because of fracking. This is so far from the truth as to be hilarious. Pennsylvania is in the bottom 10 states in the country for job creation and has a much worse economy than New York.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican who has pushed fracking and has taken large campaign contributions from the gas companies, is already trailing in the polls to Democratic challengers.
The writer also repeats Trump's claim that he could cut taxes in New York in half because of fracking. Again, nonsense. The United States will be the No. 1 oil producer in the world by 2015. What has this done for us? Gasoline prices are at $3.65 per gallon and rising, and natural gas and heating oil prices are rising again. Nothing has changed.
Robert Stadelman, Floral Park
Actor should fulfill promise to leave NY
I am very happy that Alec Baldwin is thinking about leaving New York ["Baldwin's targets mostly mum," News, Feb. 25]. What he should do is fulfill his commitment to leave the United States if George W. Bush was elected president.
The fact that he is still in this country is a testament to his hollow threats.
William Sluka, East Northport