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LETTERS: Feral cats, stroke care and more

Man is birds' biggest threat, not feral cats

It should be obvious, especially in light of the ongoing oil leak in the Gulf, that the overwhelming threat to wildlife, particularly birds, is man - not feral cats . Furthermore, when you domesticate animals, you have a moral obligation to take care of them. Those who practice trapping, neutering and releasing in Brookhaven or elsewhere are accomplishing this, but wouldn't need to if others didn't abandon or fail to neuter their cats.

Meryl Bissick


Criticism of stroke care was off the mark

In "Stroke care, stat!" Dr. Henry Woo says that "fewer than 5 percent of stroke patients receive any form of acute treatment that could improve their outcomes." This statistic is probably in the ballpark, but not for the reasons he cites. There are restrictions on when clotbusters may be used after the onset of a stroke; if the patient doesn't arrive at the hospital in time, clotbusters can't be used.

Woo asserts that up to 40 percent of stroke patients arrive in time to take advantage of therapy "if only it were offered." This slur on the function of emergency rooms is belied by the belief of all neurologists I've talked to who feel that fewer than 10 percent of patients are possible candidates for clotbuster therapy.

He says lack of access to neuroendovascular specialists and neurosurgeons means that too many stroke victims suffer poor outcomes. Neurologists provide care for nearly all of the stroke patients in this area. Neurosurgeons have never been front-line doctors for stroke patients; they are called mainly when a blood clot necessitates surgical removal. They will be surprised to hear Woo's call to arms to function as primary care physicians for stroke patients.

He also says that "the wide array of stroke symptoms" makes diagnosis difficult. However, virtually all community hospitals use excellent CT scans and MRIs, and have neurologists to evaluate and treat patients. Patients in need of endovascular care are sent immediately to a specialist.

Woo concentrates on stroke treatment, but the best treatment is prevention - a public health program to reduce body mass index, reduce smoking and promote exercise. Now, that's a way to save brain cells.

Dr. Robert G. Roth

Port Jefferson

Editor's note: The writer is a neurologist.

Driver's sentence was way too light

What a sad commentary on our justice system that a family who has lost a loved one to a drunken and high driver has to be satisfied with a 5- to 15-year prison sentence . This man, who chose to repeatedly get behind the wheel of a car while drunk (and this time high as well) should have been sentenced to life in prison for killing this mother!

This is not a family's justice, this is a family's injustice.

Karen Grinberg

East Setauket