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Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

The revolution in Tunisia is one gone right. In an astonishingly short time, a popular uprising in this small North African nation has brought thousands of disgruntled people out on the streets in such force that the dictatorial President Ben Ali has fled the country.

But the people are not stopping there. They are still in the streets demanding the removal of his cronies who are still hanging around in the dark corners waiting for the rebellion to settle down. This makes the Tunisians smarter than their contemporaries were in Romania 20 years ago.

For decades, the Romanians suffered under the heavy hand of Nicolae Ceausescu, the “Dracula of Romania.” He stole freely from the treasury for his extravagant lifestyle and used state funds to build a palace “grander than the Versailles,” all while his people suffered under one of the most power-stricken regimes in Europe. He ruthlessly murdered or tortured anyone who so much as whispered a word against him. His Securitate secret police were among the most ruthless in Europe.



Finally the people had enough and in a few short weeks went from being mute and meek to staging massive protests that even the Securitate couldn’t suppress. Ceausescu fled from Bucharest in a helicopter, only to have the pilots have a change of loyalty in mid-air and return the hated dictator to the same people who routed him. He and his equally blood-sucking wife were given a makeshift trial, taken out and shot.

Unfortunately, after decades of one-man rule, the people were not sharp enough politically to demand that his aides and officials step down as well. In the confusion, they took over the empty throne and ruled the country on only a slightly better level that Ceausescu had.



The Tunisians are no such fools, however. They are among the most highly educated in Africa and do not have the extreme religious mentality that their other Arabic allies have.

They are demanding reform from the roots up and are hanging around to see that they get it.

Roger Freed

Aspen

My mother was recently a patient at Valley View Hospital in the Emergency Department (ED) and I wanted to share a few findings. First, we want to say that the staff was amazing. Despite difficult situations, they pulled together and “made it work.”

My concern is the lack of nurses working in the ED. My mother was brought right back because she was having heart problems. While she was there, at least two ambulances arrived, and the staff was very concerned about one of those patients.

Across the hall was an obviously drunk man that was uncooperative and verbally abusive to staff. When I questioned staff about him, I was told he was their responsibility now, and they had no other options. As the staff was trying to care for critically ill patients, they were also baby-sitting this uncooperative man until he sobered up.

There were three nurses working that afternoon. I did some research and found out that for safety reasons the uncooperative patient was supposed to have his “own” nurse or a nurse with a lighter patient load. I could see that the critically ill patient next door required at least two nurses.

Looking around the ED, I saw most rooms were full. Who was supposed to take care of those patients? Again, the nurses were great and doing the best they could, but it is unreasonable and unsafe to expect staff to handle that responsibility.

After this visit, I discovered the administration of Valley View is suggesting that staff of the ED go home if it isn’t busy and would like the staffing to be cut to two nurses at all times. How can anyone predict how busy an ED is going to be?

I expect a competent and well-staffed ED when I go there. I understand extreme situations, but this seemed like a normal day in an ED. How can they expect staff to provide safe patient care if they are not staffed to do so?

Please encourage Valley View Hospital not to cut staff in this important area of this hospital.

Sarah Shepard

Kewanee, Ill.


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