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Gene Dorio: We need a professional debate

SCV Voices

Posted: June 2, 2010 12:08 p.m.
Updated: June 2, 2010 12:08 p.m.

As oil continues to leak in the Gulf of Mexico, fingers are being pointed in every direction, looking for blame due to the lack of preparedness in predicting such a catastrophe. If appropriate precautionary measures had been anticipated, this problem could have been minimized.

If you or your loved one should have surgery, would you not expect the physician to be trained and prepared to anticipate the potential for complications and know how to manage them?

I am a physician and member of the Santa Clarita Valley Medical Society, a group of doctors who practice in this community, many of whom are on staff at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital. Inherent in our training is the need to anticipate any problem that might jeopardize a patient's health and well-being.

This training is based on frank and open debate of appropriate therapy, as well as years of scientific study, critical observation and even trial-and-error. Our skills and experience are honed to anticipate and minimize threats of complications in our patients.

The methodology in medicine is similar to that which is followed in the community. Open debate allows balance between our community with government and business, but sometimes discussion is swayed by money, influence and special interests.

When one feels they have not been given their legal rights in this debate, one recourse is to sue. That is a part of the system and a legitimate American way to maintain this balance.

The May 9 Signal editorial, "Getting serious about the hospital," is an attempt to marginalize this right and to demonize a person and group that have a valid and tenable argument in the hospital debate.

As a physician at Newhall Memorial, I am on the front line of providing care to our patients. My colleagues and I sit on hospital committees that have a direct effect on how we can better serve our community. We therefore have the best seat in the house to really understand the true needs of our hospital and patient care.

There is not one physician who has been against expansion of our hospital. Nor has there been anyone in the community (including Lynne Plambeck and SCOPE) who has been against this expansion. We are all on the same page of this debate.

How the expansion is done is what is on the table, yet the hospital and a for-profit developer with its four lobbyists have stirred the pot and continue to insert innuendo and deception in blurring the truth in hospital expansion.

Sadly, with this debate continuing through the courts, The Signal has become a mouthpiece for Newhall Memorial.

The derogatory use of "a gang of no-growth zealots" and other terms demonstrates an inappropriate partiality, as well as your need to degrade and insult those who are attempting to ask questions and bring balance to a long debate.

All physicians practice medicine based on the thorough and legitimate methodology of science. Good debate has enhanced the medical field and minimizes catastrophes.

We hope The Signal's editorial board will understand our criticism and the need for professionalism in this debate.

Gene Dorio is a doctor at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital, a Santa Clarita resident and a member of the SCV Medical Society. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.


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