Growing up in Mineola, a lot of us were rabid Beatles fans (I myself attended their concert at Shea Stadium in 1966 along with a number of my Mineola High School classmates). Many of us still remain fans (there’s even a restaurant in Mineola named after one of Paul’s songs). Recently, the two remaining Beatles — Paul McCartney and Ringo Star — announced that the proceeds from the download of one of their songs (through their new XBOX game) will go directly to an organization called Doctors without Borders (DWB).
DWB is an international, humanitarian aid organization, which provides medical aid in more than 80 countries. They provide aid to people whose survival is threatened by violence, neglect, or catastrophe, primarily due to armed conflict, epidemics, malnutrition, exclusion from health care, or natural disasters. These folks work in some of the most desperate, poverty ridden, dangerous places in the world.
What many of the folks in Mineola might not know is that one of our own, John Yergan, Mineola High School Class of 1968, is currently working with DWB in Nigeria.
Nigeria is undergoing armed ethnic and sectarian violence in it’s oil producing Niger Delta region.
John was a star running back on the 1967 MHS football team that went undefeated and won the Rutgers Cup as Nassau County’s best team that year. He attended Columbia University for his undergraduate and medical studies. Since the ’80s, he’s lived in the Seattle area where he was on the faculty at the University of Washington School of Medicine and most recently an emergency medicine specialist.
Here’s John’s latest letter letting his friends know what his work and life in Africa has been like. I thought the folks in Mineola might find this interesting.
Although neither John or I have lived in Mineola or Williston Park for a number of years (John in Seattle, me in Richmond, Virginia) we will always feel like the Mineola/Williston Park area is our home and wanted to share this with our friends.
Mineola High School Class of 1968
Here is the letter from John Yergan:
Two months, one third of the way behind me. I have settled into life in a tropical riverine environment. It took me several weeks to be somewhat comfortable in the humidity as I found myself suffering on and off from sudden profuse sweating. Thankfully, my bedroom has a fan and the electricity is now on more than it is off, I hope.
For security reasons, I must endure restrictions in my ability to move around independently. For example, I must remain in our compound after dark, unless more than one of us leave together in one of our official vehicles. We must return by 10 p.m. Military check points abound, both on the roads and in the creeks. In the boat we must raise our hands above our heads starting about 100 yards away from a checkpoint. We can take them down at the checkpoint. Usually passing the soldiers goes very smoothly. Unfortunately, the security matter prevents me from forwarding any pictures along with this update.
The medical work remains stimulating. Much of what I see is relatively new and therefore interesting from that perspective alone. Additionally, the human stories behind the medical problems differ dramatically from those at home. Poverty, malnutrition, traditional beliefs, lack of access to transportation, and other factors affect greatly the severity of disease at the time we see a patient. In a typical day, we may see patients of all ages with these diseases: malnutrition, severe malaria and other parasitic infections, pneumonia, typhoid fever, gastroenteritis, severe anemia, measles complicated by pneumonia, chronic infections, injuries which ideally should have been seen weeks earlier, acute trauma, and many other maladies.
On August 10, the MTA released a Draft 2010-2014 Capital Program document and a 20-year Capital Needs Assessment document for public review and comment. It seems that the LIRR Main Line Corridor Improvements Project has morphed into something called the LIRR Strategic Corridor Improvement Program. The LIRR Strategic Corridor Improvements Program redefines the main line as being between Jamaica station in Queens County and the Ronkonkoma station in Suffolk County.
Dr. Jack Kevorkian (Dr. Death) would be proud of the members of Congress who have produced the current health recovery bill. I thought euthanasia was banned or at least against the law. Presently, there is a proposal in the bill that mandates seniors citizens attend, every five years, a government-sponsored counselor to suggest ways to end your life. That may sound drastic, but the counselor can or will outline how you are to receive health care, regardless of your doctor’s wishes, reduce medications and ask you to prepare a living will and appoint a healthcare proxy. There is nothing wrong with the last two items but that is your decision, not theirs. This seems to be a way of taking away your own decision to live out your life on your terms. Forget the talent and experience you still have to offer your children and grandchildren, love, encouragement, a wealth of understanding, guidance and warmth of just being there when they need you.
Nassau County Legislator Rich Nicolello has proposed new legislation to create a $25 million Sustainable Energy Loan Fund for Nassau residents. This “Green Energy” Fund will encourage local homeowners and businesses to make energy efficient improvements or add renewable energy sources to their homes by providing loans for energy-efficient building improvements.
Controversy has long marked the career of U.S. Congressman Peter King. He recently pointed out the many faults in the life Michael Jackson both proven and unproven and many saluted him for doing so. Others denounced King. His anti-illegal immigrant position has on several occasions found him criticizing the Catholic Church for their more lenient positions. King is a practicing Catholic and his strong anti-abortion statements have also made him controversial. King, one of the few remaining Republican office holders in this area, angered many in his party when he was the only Republican to vote against the impeachment of Bill Clinton. King is an interesting man to watch. He could run for the Senate in the next election.
We regularly put the reins of tomorrow in the capable hands of our youth. But, too often we fail to acknowledge that the hopes of past generations for a healthy, productive society were pinned on the shoulders of our present-day matriarchs and patriarchs, the progenitors of our history, our heritage.
For that, we owe them our eternal gratitude.
At the July 9 workshop meeting of the Mineola Board of Education, I was pleased to hear the announcement of the resolution of the lawsuit against the Mineola Public School District, Dr. Licopoli and Dr. Nagler. I was also pleased to read the coverage in the Mineola American (July 15) because I hope as many people in the district and elsewhere who knew of the suit will find out that it has been dropped without any settlement or admission of wrongdoing on the part of the school district, Dr. Nagler or Dr. Licopoli.
A recent column published in this paper completely missed the point about the race for Nassau County Executive. The 2009 campaign isn’t about who can raise and spend the most money; it’s about who is best able to govern our county for the next four years.
Who will be able to stop the bleeding that our taxpayers have endured for the past eight years, while the county budget increased $800 million? Who will turn around the current agenda to increase taxes by nearly 4 percent each of the next four years?
When members of Winthrop-University Hospital administration recently traveled to the Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS) Annual Conference, they had something special to look forward to.
During the June 24-26 meeting at the Sagamore on Lake George, Winthrop was presented the 2009 HANYS Pinnacle Award for Quality and Patient Safety (Large Hospital Category) from HANYS. The award was in recognition of the hospital’s program that changed medication ordering processes leading to a very successful implementation of a Computerized Provider Order Entry (CPOE) system that dramatically enhanced patient safety and improved the quality of patient care. On hand to accept the award were John F. Collins, president and CEO of Winthrop, and Maureen Gaffney, RPAC, RN, Winthrop’s Chief Medical Information Officer.
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