Wednesday, November 14, 2012




In light of recent criticism of our regional jewel of news reporting, Newsday, I find it only proper to share three of my opinion submissions that failed to make the cut. Admittedly, volume may have played a part, but I cannot dismiss the weight of subject matter. I share this with you, my reading public, to decide for yourselves. Enjoy!



Regarding “Obama’s Message: Don’t quit” News, Sept. 8], I look forward to the Newsday publication listing the school districts that banned the president’s motivational speech dedicated to the children of our nation.  Among the 56 districts open for business on that day, let those that censured the president bare their embarrassment.

The White House preview of the speech effectively removed suspicion of any political agenda, while receiving endorsements from former first lady Laura Bush and former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich.  The message: Don’t quit, is a call to our youth to take responsibility for their future while respecting their parents, teachers and mentors in an environment that’s not always friendly. Evidently, there are some custodians of our children’s education who did not get the message. Using the manufactured threat of politics to hide personal bias, these elected symbols of authority committed the ultimate political sin.  They used our children as political ponds. How dare them!



How often has a parent gloated over an accomplishment by his/her child?  Whether it be a goal scored on the soccer field, touchdown in full armor, academic honors at graduation, not to mention the college commencement film that will last forever as proof of economic sacrifice; on such occasions, parents do not hesitate at taking credit for the accolades afforded their offspring.  This is part of living the good life, celebrating our progeny while investing in hopes of a future destined to survive us.  Commendations to all.

As parents, do we perform in like manner when choices our children exercise are less than admirable?  This is a question growing at fever pace with the advent of front page hate crimes perpetrated by our young.   Unfortunately, many a young person is made aware early the real world is fractured, commonly the result of a fractured family.  That in itself does not provide a “get out of jail free” card, either to the young person or the parent.  Of course there is the other picture, the intact social unit with mother and father present. With due respect, this idyllic life style does not guarantee the yellow brick road. 

Insult to injury; let us not forget the sin of omission, otherwise known as denial.  This is the plateau on which too many parents, social pundits, and elected officials find refuge.  Interestingly, if the district attorney’s office proves correct, many indicted youth offenders are less intrigued with this refuge.  They willingly attest to the scenario of the charges.  We of the parent and grandparent generations will probably find that astonishing; not for their honesty, but for the audacity to throw their actions in the face of authority.  Not to the credit of our legal system, the recent codification of a hate crime deserving its own level of punitive retribution is testament to a history of jurisprudence denial.  Crimes of hate date back to the book of Genesis. 

What is the foundation for this de facto recognition?  After a century of activism and martyrdom for the advancement of civil and human rights, America has matured in its admission of racial and ethnic atrocities of man against his neighbor.

Hate is not born but acquired.  From the womb we are all a blank canvass, pure in the sight of our Creator and in any court in these United States.  Respect for self and fellow man is taught and learned by example.  The gravity of the fruit from the tree may be simplistic, but proverbs themselves are born from example. School begins at home. For too many neighbors school is out.  Their children are no longer children.  For good or bad, they will be judged accordingly. 

Perhaps gloating at our progeny is an exercise at looking in the mirror.  If we employ the tools of honesty, integrity, and self-assuredness, then we should be happy at what we see.




If and when this letter is published, the decision regarding the occupant of the Oval Office will have been made. Unfortunately, it won’t alter the journalistic damage emanating from Newsday’s presidential endorsement (Editorial, Nov. 5). It is generally understood the business of a newspaper is to sell newspapers; but, it is expected to do so with responsible journalism.

The tepid endorsement of Mitt Romney was riddled with disclaimers sufficient to endorse his opponent, Barack Obama. Additionally, Newsday’s version of “tale of success” does not accurately match the former governor’s record, particularly in Massachusetts. This reflects a disconnect between its reporting sources and editorial perspective. The final insult is the utilization of Mr. Romney’s deficiencies as reason for endorsement (wavering positions and unspecified plans for solving the nation’s problems).

It comes as no surprise the repercussions were overwhelmingly negative and may lead to cancelled subscriptions. On a positive note, I was pleased to be reassured that perceptive readers still exist in our region and the ghost of Alicia Patterson, Newsday’s founder, is alive and well. I look forward to the restoration of a paper we once held in high standing.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012


                Fast forward to April 2012.  Almost a year to the day of my first diagnosis, a routine follow-up visit to my doctor proves to be not so routine. A bad news gut feeling fills my being when the sonar technician stops chewing his gum and signals my surgeon to look at the screen. Dr. Richard Matano has my upmost confidence as a celebrity of vascular surgery and head of that department in one of the nation’s most renowned hospitals, St. Francis in Roslyn, N.Y.  That said, I would never play poker with the man. He has remarkable body control when delivering sensitive news. He instructs me to get a blood test and CT Scan ASAP, inquires about my kidneys, and sends me home with don’t worry, I’ll call you after I get the results.
            Not so fast. Test and Scan are complete before a week goes by – no call. At this point, I’m operating on the optimistic theory: No news is good news. I find it difficult to accept the fact; I’m not his only patient. Finally, the long awaited call:

“I reviewed your test and I’d like to do another angioplasty. Similar to the last one, it should be no more than a two day hospital stay. Call Susan (his secretary) and have      her schedule the procedure. Take care and enjoy your day.”

            Is it me or what? Has anyone noticed the new substitution of “procedure” for “surgery”? Has anyone noticed “pre-owned” for “used”? Not to be confused with the analogy, sometimes I feel used for a procedure that my HMO will consider a surgery on a pre-owned condition. As anyone who’s been there will attest, non-emergency “procedures” require pre-surgical exams. Mine raises a new “red flag”. My heart rate is low and surgery may have to be postponed until corrected. The decision rest with my surgeon who instructs everything remain on schedule, everything that is, until Friday, May 25th, the day of my scheduled surgery and the eve of Memorial Day weekend. Again, the “red flag” appears from the anesthesiologist who summons a procession of doctors, including my surgeon, to discuss the risk of going forward. I, being the object of this conference, am beginning to see the risk of a planned bar-be-que.

            Thanks to the head of cardiology who happens to be another celebrity of medicine, my surgery/procedure is now postponed to Sunday. Of course that decision is based on caution, which is the only comfort I’m afforded as my planned two day episode fades in the dust. My sense of smell still intact, I do not fail to detect the aromas of the grill on various staff as they monitor the intravenous connection to my arm. No hard feelings; they are scheduled for their shifts regardless of the presence of Ron Scott. The OR (Operating Room) is a different story.

            The head of a medical department has authority, power and clout. To be a member of a team of authority, power and clout entails sacrifice on many occasions. Sunday, May 27th was such an occasion. During my final prep for surgery, I noticed no other patients in the usual assembly line. I also noticed familiar faces from the first attempt to send me on my way, including my anesthesiologist. What was unmistakable was the lack of smiling faces. Mine was not the only bar-be-que in jeopardy! I prayed they wouldn’t take it out on me.
If you are reading this, you know the procedure/surgery was a success.  I’m in recovery when I receive information clarifying the reason for the original delay – over-medication from a drug I’ve been taking for years (Toprol XL). Now the irony begins. Before I can be released from the hospital, a completely unrelated medication, Coumadin must be given time to restore my blood level to its desired level. For the uniformed, this medication is a controversial blood thinner used to prevent blood clouts. Serving its purpose, it requires regular monitoring which disturbs many doctors and patients. Privately, I’ve heard it referred to as rat poison by an unnamed physician. After eight extended days and innumerable blood samples, I am granted my release. Okay, so maybe it is rat poison, but it prevented me from becoming one of those statistics: The operation was a success, but the patient died.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012


By Ron Scott

            It’s been a long time between posts, and I’m not one for excuses, but this once, I have a tale that may serve as an excuse (other than procrastination). Many of us are familiar with back pain. Almost everyone I meet of my generation is well acquainted with some form of this discomfort. In my case, discomfort is not the appropriate word – outright severe pain is more like it!

The war in progress is not new. At first, which is many years ago, I dismissed back pain to the rigors of a strenuous day, something probably common to all of us. Then in the wee hours of one night, nature called. My feet hit the floor and that’s all she wrote. My entire body became frozen in pain as fear took control of my brain. What is happening to my body? With the assistance of a good wife, I survived the night and was delivered to the first of many doctors to come. Oh, the doctors, doctors, doctors. Oh, the pain, pain, pain!

Next in line was a stint in physical therapy – not all bad, not all good. I learned how to cope using various exercises, with no cure in sight. As time went on, a couple of years, actually, other body parts required attention – just like my automobile. We did have a lot in common. My eye-lashes were equated with windshield wipers; an anemic blood sample indicated an oil leak; and, an irregular heartbeat was compared to a malfunctioning timing chain. Despite the blood thinners, blood pressure meds, and prostate monitoring, back pain continued its debilitating course. Finally, my orthopedist ordered an MRI after exhausting x-rays. True to form, the results verified two herniated disks, the source of my pain, and one unexpected surprise – an abdominal aortic aneurysm. And away we go!!!

The choice was simple. I could live with my back pain, but an aneurysm could make today my last. Thanks to modern technology, surgery went well and the patient went home on the second day. Ten years ago, it would have been a different story: major surgery with a guaranteed ten day hospital stay before home recuperation. Needless to say, I credit my well-being with my unrelenting back pain. Unlike my auto, I did survive to tell the tale which is Part One. Part Two will follow to satisfy all my soap opera fans. In the meantime, I have plenty of What’s Up tid-bits to gather for your perusal. In the meantime …

Keep on keeping on!