I valued the recent Letters to the Editor in support of the upcoming hospital levy and recognized some of the patients we were able to help in a critical and timely situation.

I have been working in various emergency rooms around the country for almost 50 years, and I don’t know if the residents of Cedar County realize what a treasure they have. Besides the experienced and dedicated nurses and staff, they have a group of Board Certified Emergency Medicine physicians unique in most critical access hospitals. Our group has staffed the Cedar County Memorial Hospital Emergency Department for almost 12 years and represent more than a hundred cumulative years of ER experience. All of us have worked in major trauma centers and bring that level of expertise to Cedar County Memorial Hospital and its’ patients. Many diagnoses are time critical and the difference of right now and maybe later are the difference truly between life and death or permanent disability.

Sally Heisten’s kind letter illustrates that having an experienced physician willing and skilled to give TPA to stop or limit a stroke in progress is critical.

The recurrent negative letters from Ms. Malone are risible. She states in one that because she is a Republican, she doesn’t believe in socialized medicine. Although President Johnson signed Medicare into law, it was in fact Richard Nixon who proposed expansion of Medicare and Medicaid benefits and was in favor of universal health care. Certainly, one anticipates Ms. Malone refusing to cash her Social Security checks or pay her hospital bills with her Medicare benefits. This would be less hypocritical if her sign “Vote No Again” on the hospital levy was not posted over her photo as she sat alongside the Mediterranean Sea.

I’m not sure what the burr under her hand-tooled saddle might be, but I daily deal with the poverty and lack of security of the poorer residents of the county that can’t afford the gas to drive to the Walmart pharmacy in Nevada when our own loyal Evans Pharmacy may be closed.

The levy increases the tax base from 0.1528 to 0.6112 per $100 of assessed valuation. Assuming people that can sit on the coast of Italy might live in a $200,000 home, her tax bill would increase from $58.00 to $232.00 per year on her home, the cost of a weekly mocha cappuccino. And yes, I do realize she would also pay taxes on whatever personal property she has chosen to acquire.

It is simply time to realize what a treasure and essential benefit our local well-staffed hospital is. Cedar County Memorial Hospital increases the total value of our towns and county, and pitches in to insure safe and timely care all of our citizens.

Jim Riscoe, M.D., Emergency Medicine,