Letters to the Editor: Rand Paul a ‘blight’ on medicine. Where are the nurses in Frankfort?

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Paul ‘a blight’

Sen. Rand Paul is a blight on the medical profession. At every opportunity, Sen. Paul argues against all consensus medical opinion. Masks and vaccines after a COVID-19 infection? Not necessary in the esteemed Dr. Paul’s opinion, despite a study conducted in Kentucky by the Centers for Disease Control, showing that people who have recovered from COVID-19 but have not been vaccinated are at 2.3 times the risk of those who were vaccinated after recovery. Ivermectin? He’s “in the middle” and claims that hatred of Donald Trump is stifling all research, despite a clinical trial being conducted at the University of Kentucky. Now, Paul is clamoring for access to the monoclonal antibody treatment and for greater production of the product, while railing against the Biden administration for stepping in to regulate distribution. In his op-ed, Paul bemoaned the fact that access to monoclonal antibody therapy is limited. Well, Senator, that’s what crisis standards of care dictate. Talk to physicians in Idaho, where crisis standards of care have been enacted statewide. Perhaps if Paul would listen to those who live the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic he’d stop with all of the senseless arguments and promote the thing that we know works best of all: vaccination.

Laura A. Kennedy, Lawrenceburg

Lessons from Rand

I need to thank our physician senator, Rand Paul, for correcting a misconception that I have held for years.

During more than 20 years in the U.S. Navy Medical Department, over seven years affiliated with a surgical residency program, and an additional 10 years in other healthcare related positions I was under the misapprehension that surgeons wore face coverings to protect patients from contamination. Dr. (?) Paul has made it apparent that it is actually to protect the surgeon from the patient.

His insistence that he need not mask because he has already had the COVID-19 virus shows me the error of my thinking. Obviously he feels that he cannot contract the virus from his patients now that he thinks he has immunity. He is sure that he is not one of the survivors who contract the disease again. I assume that he no longer wears a face covering while performing surgery since he has no fear of being infected by his patients.

I am grateful to Paul for correcting my misunderstanding of disease transmission. I will be able to spend the rest of my life (however short) with a better understanding of epidemiology.

Richard Betsworth, Versailles

Costly session

The mostly white male super majority Republican state legislators finally got what they wanted: media coverage of them instead of Gov. Andy Beshear by a special COVID session costing taxpayers $68,000 a day.

When the first surge of the pandemic occurred, did any one of them ask the governor: “How can we help you?” Did they fan out across the state to encourage constituent vaccinations after, of course, they got theirs?

All we saw were GOP legislators using Republican constitutional officers to sue the governor, passing legislation to strip him of executive powers including controlling the pandemic. I wonder how much those lawsuits cost taxpayers.

What did the GOPers do in the special session? They threw the decision about mask-wearing on schools as they are being ravaged in a second surge pandemic, including dealing with teacher/staff shortages and confused parents about masks and the vaccine.

But surprise! The legislature also passed a $410 million state incentive package for a “mega-site” in one county, complete with ethical conflicts. I wonder if that was the real reason for the special session.

Follow the money ... like the $15 million throwaway.

Ramona Rush, Lexington

‘They’ is plural

When I read Ian Ayres’ opinion piece about his carefully thought through decision about referring to everyone as “they” until he could be told the preferred pronoun of an individual, it amused me then disgusted me. On whose authority did he decide that “they” was a singular pronoun? It is and will forever be a plural pronoun. I wonder if he is too intimidated to call someone “he” or “she” based on their appearance or terrified of making an assumption that could cause himself (or is it theyself) unease.

If “they” can now be considered both a singular and plural pronoun, isn’t that confusing to the listener? I thought that one benefit of language was to accurately convey a thought or message. Perhaps Mr. Ayres carries a sign or has a tattoo on his forehead that explains that his use of “they” could mean one person or many people. The listener can then know to take a guess.

If one is reluctant to classify an individual as “he” or “she,” then the singular pronoun “it” would be much clearer and more precise. You would think someone as brilliant as a Yale Law School professor and the deputy law school dean would have that figured out.

Pat Nussbaum, Nicholasville

Right side of history

I think history will be kind to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Not so much to those who spit on her grave like Sen. Mitch McConnell. It’s ironic that without the landmark discrimination cases won by Ginsburg in the Supreme Court, McConnell’s chosen successor to Ginsburg, Amy Coney Barrett, could not have even owned a credit card to buy a plane ticket to attend Donald Trump’s COVID superspreader event in honor of Barrett’s appointment.

Barrett claims to be a conservative constitutional “strict constructionist” or “originalist”. Originalists believe they can somehow channel the minds of the Founding Fathers to make sure the Constitution isn’t reinterpreted by the 232 years of history since it was written. I guess they must hold seances to do that.

In that case the original Constitution is clear. Women have no rights. Only white male landowners can vote and have full citizenship. For census purposes slaves are counted as 3/5 of a person so the slave states can have an outsized influence in Congress and the Electoral College. So Barrett should follow her originalist dogma and go back to the kitchen with no rights other than to reproduce and cook dinner.

Kevin Kline, Lexington

Op-ed ironic

I was struck by the irony of Mac Brown’s opinion piece telling us that mandates are bad, incentives are good.

If so, is Mr. Brown actively working to remove requirements for driver’s licenses, income-tax filing, speed limits, proof-of-age for alcohol purchases, and the like?

He claims that one-size-fits-all approaches are ill advised. Would he prefer that some people be allowed to sell drugs, others not; some people be allowed to steal, others not. Let people choose? Really?

He says we should encourage and incentivize people to get the vaccine, but leave the choice up to them. Really? Should we encourage people to obey speed limits for our safety, but leave the choice up to them? Or perhaps encourage people to pay taxes, but leave the choice up to them? Would he be willing to expand his desire for freedom of choice to that extent?

He says we need to come together to defeat the virus. Indeed. And we should follow facts, not opinions or conspiracy theories; follow science, not political rhetoric. Brown doesn’t understand that people’s freedom to choose ends when it impacts my freedom to remain healthy and alive, ready to follow speed limits and pay taxes.

Carole Boyd, Lexington

The choice

To attend a major concert in the downtown Lexington area one generally is required to use a clear plastic purse to prevent sneaking in any booze. Attendees have to buy their alcohol once they are inside. However, for many of the upcoming big shows there are no restrictions on bringing in any of the COVID-19 variants that can and will sadly kill some of the people who will attend those very same concerts. No required proof of vaccination/testing and no required masks are a direct courtesy of our Frankfort leaders — Senate President Robert Stivers, Rep. David Osborne, and Attorney General Daniel Cameron. I hope everyone who attends large indoor Kentucky concerts has an updated and valid will. At some point following each concert several loved ones will need that important document. For the larger group of long haul COVID-19 victims that will also result from that same concert, there could be a significant probability of a long and very tough road to only partial lifetime recovery. The venues will not help them with their disastrous hospital bills. For those that die, RIP. For the long haulers that live, God be with them in their physical and massive fiscal misery.

Gene Lockhart, Lexington

Tale of two events

During the days of the spreading Delta variant, both the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota and the Lollapalooza music event in Chicago occurred. The Sturgis rally was a very large gathering with no testing, masks, or vaccination requirements that precipitated a spike for cases. Lollapalooza, working with the Chicago Department of Public Health, required either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to the event and masks for indoor events, resulting in 90% fully vaccinated attendees. In this setting a non apathetic response to COVID (Lollapalooza) did not lead to a superspreader event while the apathetic response to the pandemic in Sturgis led to a surge in cases. Recently it was reported in JAMA Internal Medicine that COVID-19 is most transmissible two days before and three days after symptoms appear. Consequently, many of those who are not vaccinated and walking around without masks feeling well can be very effectively spreading the Delta variant. The personal freedom choices largely advocated in Sturgis impacted the right to be free of harm, while Lollapalooza indicated that events can be held during the pandemic with a respect for public safety that do not impair this right.

Edward John Pavlik, Lexington

Include nurses

I have been a nurse for 34 years. Nursing has the largest number of healthcare professionals and is the most trusted profession by the public for 20 years running. On Sept. 2, the Kentucky legislature held an Interim Joint Committee on Health, Welfare and Family Services, and not one nurse was asked to testify.

I ask that co-chairs Rep. Kimberly Moser and Sen. Ralph Alvarado, along with my own state Sen. Alice Forgy Kerr, who sits on the committee, to invite nurses to speak at committee meetings. Senator Alvarado talked about getting individuals that constituents trust to discuss vaccines. Those individuals are nurses. He also discussed workforce issues in nursing homes. There are no larger or more impactful healthcare professionals than nurses — some 90,000-plus in Kentucky. We have data on many different aspects of healthcare, but more importantly we have the lived experiences of a person present at the beginning of life, at the end of life, and all the special times in between. Nurses can discuss the healthcare issues facing Kentuckians.

Where are the nurses?

We are still here ready for the dialogue.

Teresa Villaran, chair, Professional Nursing and Advocacy Cabinet, Kentucky Nurses Association, Lexington