Letters to the Editor

6/21 letters: Medical malpractice editorial presented half the picture

Medical malpractice

“In NC, medical malpractice victims are denied justice” (June 19) provides an incomplete view of the law addressing the non-economic consequences of medical malpractice.

When a person experiences economic harm, the amount can be measured and there is far more clarity to guide juries in making those awards. But the legal system has done a poor job converting non-economic harm into dollars, so the state legislature saw the need to identify some limits. The limit is adjusted every year to keep up with inflation.

The legislature also made some exceptions to ensure justice could be done in unusual circumstances. The cap does not apply if the conduct that caused the harm was committed in reckless disregard of the rights of others, grossly negligent, fraudulent, intentional or malicious and the person suffered disfigurement, loss of use of part of the body, permanent injury or death.

A public discussion aimed at equity and good results from our legislature requires that we avoid presenting only half the picture, as your editorial did.

Dr. Timothy Reeder, Raleigh

President, North Carolina Medical Society

Invasion of Iraq

In response to the letter writer who cited the Gulf of Tonkin incident that resulted in the Vietnam War. (“Disturbing memories,” June 19 Forum):

We would be better served to remember WMD — Weapons of Mass Destruction — that resulted in the invasion of Iraq.

Thomas Gunshinan Jr., Kenly

Fix poll issues

One fact has emerged from investigations into the 2016 election and culminating in the Mueller report: The Russian government attempted to meddle in our presidential elections and is likely to do so again in 2020.

Durham County experienced a poll book failure that we are now told may have been related to this interference, and it is unclear if the rest of our state’s election infrastructure is secure.

The same issues are playing out across the country. Our elected representatives, regardless of party, and particularly our senators, need to confront this problem.

They need to fund ongoing efforts of local election authorities to upgrade outdated voting machines and to ensure that machines are secure and can be audited in case of a disputed election.

This is no longer “dirty politics,” this is a threat to the nation and we have very little time left to stop it before the next presidential election.

It can be done — but only if our elected officials have the will to act.

Melissa Scott, Chapel Hill

Utility transparency

As a Republican who embraces the principles of free markets, ratepayer protections, and transparency in business, I cannot accept Duke Energy’s Senate Bill 559.

Their misleading and disingenuous effort in a recent op-ed to “set the record straight” only reinforced my opposition.

To sayDuke won’t use SB 559 to raise rates is like saying we’ll give candy to children but we don’t expect them to eat it. Once Duke has this “tool,” its first step will be to find ways to use it, guaranteeing higher power bills for customers.

To say that the bill’s opponents ignore the customer benefits of grid securitization is false. On the contrary, almost no one disagrees that customers would benefit from the move. But the additional costs imposed through multi-year rates more than cancel out that benefit.

If Duke were genuinely looking out for customers, it would split the two issues within the bill, assuring customer savings. As it is, they’re using securitization as a shield, hiding behind it to get the multi-year rates provision they really want.

Passage of SB 559 would reduce utility transparency, double down on Duke’s business monopoly, and protect shareholders rather than customers.

Billy Sewell, Jacksonville

A hashtag for Trump

First as candidate, then as president, Donald Trump has made frequent and effective use of hashtags to attack and malign political opponents.

From #LowEnergyJeb to #LyingTed and onto #CrookedHillary these devices no doubt contributed to his improbable 2016 victory.

It is quite remarkable that his opponents have not resorted in kind. I would like to rectify this.

It is all but a certainty that Trump and his campaign made willing use of Russian assistance against Hillary Clinton. Last week, as president, he was glaringly open about being receptive to receiving opposition research from foreign governments.

This willingness to obtain political intelligence from a foreign adversary is unprecedented. I’d like to suggest a hashtag for him: #BenedictDonald.

Bruce Burchett, Durham

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