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Letter: Hospital safety report is lacking

Preventable medical errors are the third-leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer ["Patient safety graded," News, Nov. 7]. The cost of injuries and death caused by negligent medical errors exceeds $50 billion each year.

While the Leapfrog Hospital Survey, performed by a nonprofit group to improve health care quality, is a step in the right direction to better patient safety, it relies on incomplete sources of information: voluntary hospital surveys, Centers for Disease Control numbers, and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service statistics.

These sources list general conditions and outcomes, but that doesn't adequately report all recognized preventable errors. Many hospitals fail to report errors such as surgery on the wrong body part, foreign objects left in patients, injuries to vital organs, blood clots, infections from urinary catheters, falls that cause fractures, and hospital-acquired infections.

State and federal governments should mandate hospital disclosure of all types of medical errors. Only then can consumers be assured of making informed choices of the safest and best hospitals and doctors.

Alan W. Clark, Levittown

Editor's note: The writer is a medical malpractice lawyer.

Mountains of leaves are a street hazard

Autumn brings nature's spectacular color show to Long Island, and invariably my neighbors think they should rake the piles off their lawns and into massive curbside mountains. This reduces already narrow streets into one-lane hazards.

These leaf piles make navigating in the daylight a challenge for walkers, runners or cyclists, and it's even worse after dark. According to the Town of Hempstead, this action is illegal; however, officials tell me they cannot issue a summons unless a homeowner is caught in the act.

Leaf hills neatly lining a property's curbside are not evidence enough for our esteemed officials. People should just do the right thing and consider the dangerous conditions they create when they use the street as a dumping ground. Take the trouble to bag the leaves.

Marleen Fenton, East Meadow

How do the dogs know bar is safe?

I couldn't help but laugh at the decision by the New York City health department to ban dogs from a Brooklyn bar ["Bar owner says city should let dogs in," News, Oct. 30]. The health department said it is impossible to know whether a dog has been immunized or is healthy.

If those are actually the criteria for frequenting a pub, it's likely more than half the patrons would have to leave. Maybe the city should warn the dogs!

Dr. Ian R. Holzman, Roslyn

Wounded veterans rely on families

While Veterans Day is still fresh in our hearts and minds, I would like to bring something into focus. Some suffer wounds, amputations, limbs blown from their bodies, lost sight and hearing, and psychological horrors. Our veterans bring these atrocities home to their families, and life needs to continue.

My aunt Catherine married uncle Ralph, a veteran, in spite of the fact that he had lost both legs and an arm in a World War II explosion. He had wooden legs and a shiny steel hook for an arm. My aunt had the courage to subscribe to a life of difficulty and sacrifice.

We should never forget any of our veterans -- nor forget the families that have cared for wounded veterans. These are unsung heroes.

Frank Macchio, Bayside

Eco-friendly detergents safer

Pretty detergent pods attract both parents and children ["Detergent pods a peril to kids," News, Nov. 10]. But accidental poisonings can be avoided by purchasing eco-friendly products instead.

I believe that these products are safer, just as good, and more efficient in keeping a washing machine from being clogged with residues left by ultra-strong chemical detergents.

Elaine Peters, Hicksville

Property tax increases a burden

Like other Long Islanders, I grumble about my property taxes ["$189M budget would raise town tax levy," News, Nov. 11].

I did a quick analysis of my property tax bills for the last six years. The town portion of my tax has risen an average of 1.3 percent each year, less than the rate of inflation. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the overall Consumer Price Index for New York and Northern New Jersey rose an average 1.83 percent between 2009 and 2014.

However, Huntington school taxes have gone up an average of 2.7 percent a year. And the next biggest levy, the county police district, rose an average of 3.4 percent annually.

So, despite Town Supervisor Frank Petrone's claims that he's keeping town taxes under control, there's still work to be done to rein in the other portions of our tax bills. For those workers and retirees who are not fortunate to have annual cost-of-living adjustments made to their salaries and pensions, ever-increasing property taxes pose a tremendous burden.

Paul Jacobs, Huntington