The Madison County Journal
July 19, 2000
Hospitals should provide
better parking for patients
Have you ever found yourself looking around
at some situation and thinking, "This is not right?"
That was my reaction when I carried my step-mother to a local
hospital for a blood test. I drove into the parking lot for the
emergency and outpatient clinic and started looking for a parking
space. There were a few open spaces, but each had a sign saying
"physicians only" or "security only." I dropped
my passenger off at the door and finally found a parking space
in a lot a quarter of a mile away.
After she completed her test, I had to leave her standing at
the door while I walked back to the lot, retrieved my car and
picked her up.
What am I to think about this problem? Apparently, the hospital,
and the doctors, are of the opinion that their convenience is
of far greater importance than the needs of the patients.
Doctors are important. They provide a valuable service that cannot
be obtained elsewhere. For their efforts, they are well rewarded.
A news item ran this week about a doctor who, after only a few
years of practice, rewarded her mother for paying her way through
school with a new mansion. I noticed that most of the cars in
those physician-only lots were in the $30,000 to $50,000 price
The hospital employees and patients that I saw walking from the
distant parking lot to the hospital were not driving expensive
cars. Most, like myself, were in moderately priced older vehicles.
Doctors have enough resources to provide a shuttle service for
themselves if they are too tired or rushed to walk from the remote
parking spaces. Or, if it is essential that they park next to
the entrance, the hospital should provide a shuttle for patients
It is obvious to me that those people who are in need of medical
service are in need of nearby parking. If you are ill, injured
or elderly, it is absurd to have to walk from a distant parking
lot to the emergency room. A true concern for their patients
would compel the doctors to move their parking spaces to the
remote lots and allow patients to park near the building.
I have long believed that many doctors, and other professionals,
are more concerned with their own wealth, comfort and convenience
than the needs of their clients. The parking arrangements of
that Athens hospital clearly support my belief.
COVERDELL WILL BE MISSED
Senator Paul Coverdell was everything a Southern gentleman should
be. He was a quiet, gentle man who earned his reputation with
hard work. He never raised his voice in anger. He never resorted
to name calling when confronted by opponents. He did his best
to represent the people and state of Georgia in the manner expected
from a U.S. Senator.
While he made sure he was fully informed about the issues, he
was patient with those who were not as well informed. In my contacts
with him as a member of the media, I always found him willing
and able to explain the details of any issue I brought up.
Georgia, the nation and the world lost a great leader when Sen.
Coverdell died Tuesday. His was the kind of leadership that gave
hope to those of us who so often fear for our nation's future.
He will be missed.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal. His
web page can be accessed at www.mcga.net. firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Madison County Journal
July 19, 2000
This column has been on my mind for some time now. As the parent
of two teenagers, it is doubly difficult to write. I don't want
to preach, don't want to sound superior, self-righteous, or any
of those things. I know no secrets, possess no special wisdom,
but I do have some deep convictions and some very strong opinions
about rearing children in this most difficult and often dangerous
It has been my observation that most teenagers drink - not many,
but most. Why do they drink? Sometimes for fun, to fit in, or
just because they can get their hands on it. It is said that
alcohol is the teenager's drug of choice today - much more so
than pot, cocaine or any of the other illicit substances combined.
That's no news flash. Take a look at the arrest report in this
newspaper most any week.
It has also been my observation that most parents seem to know,
on some level at least, that their teens drink.
I hear comments from parents all the time like, "If they're
going to drink, they're going to drink." "If they're
going to party, they'll party." "I don't want to make
(my child) mad at me." Or "I want to be my child's
friend." And then there's the infamous, "If they drink,
I just tell them not to drive and hope for the best." That
one makes my blood run cold. Why is alcohol viewed differently
from most other drugs our children abuse? Is it because it's
a legal substance? Alcohol kills more people every day than all
these other substances combined.
If you want to know if they drink, ask them. Yes, they may lie
to you, but they will know you care. Then again, they may tell
you the truth, if they feel you really want to know.
Why can't we set high standards for our children? If we say things
to them like, "I know you're probably going to drink,"
isn't that setting them up for failure? If we as parents don't
have high expectations of our kids, how can they have high expectations
I expect my teenagers not to drink, not to do drugs and I expect
them not to have sex. I tell them so in no uncertain terms. I
ask them to expect that of themselves - to remember who they
are - a unique and special people here for a reason.
If they drink, if they do drugs, if they have sex, they will
do it without my blessing and without my implied approval.
But they also know their parents love them because that is something
Charles and I tell them too. We don't imply it, we don't just
assume they know it - we tell them. They need to hear it now
as much as they did when they were little. I have found that
when they seem the most distant, the most hostile or have the
most "attitude" is when they most need to hear "I
love you." That may also be the time I most want to pinch
their heads off too, but I still need to tell them I love them.
And I need to listen to what they have to say.
I want to be my child's friend, but when it comes down to a choice
between friend or parent, they need a parent first and foremost
and sometimes they need to be told "no" even if it
makes them mad.
My kids are no different from anyone else's. I have the utmost
confidence in them, but I also know that they are human and that
they will make mistakes.
And when they make those mistakes, they need to know they can
come to their parents. How can they know this? We have to tell
them and we have to show them every day and in every way.
Margie Richards is a reporter and office manager for the Madison