Health & Medicine

Georgia editorial roundup

Recent editorials from Georgia newspapers:

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Sept. 10

The Brunswick News on the rescue of crew members trapped inside an overturned cargo ship near a Georgia port:

We think it is safe to say that the events of the last two days surrounding the Golden Ray cargo ship will not be forgotten anytime soon in the Golden Isles.

For those of you who have incredible news dodging skills, the Golden Ray was on its way out of the Port of Brunswick and heading out to sea early on Sept. 8 when it overturned in the St. Simons Sound in-between St. Simons and Jekyll islands.

Rescue crews were able to save 20 of the 24 crew members on board in the immediate aftermath but had to call off their search for the remaining members as a fire on the ship made for a tenuous situation.

The fire eventually died down, but it took several anxious hours before U.S. Coast Guard officials were able to have rudimentary contact with the missing crewmen through tapping on the hull of the boat.

The situation turned for the better the morning and afternoon of Sept. 10 as Coast Guard members drilled two separate holes — one small hole for a camera to check on the men and a bigger whole to get food, water and other supplies to the men.

Unfortunately, the remaining four men weren't located together. Three men were rescued by 3 p.m. Sept. 10. They were the ones who the Coast Guard was able to get food and water too.

At their 3:30 p.m. press conference announcing that the three men had been rescued, Coast Guard officials were optimistic that they would have more good news to deliver on the final survivor. That would come around 6 p.m. with news that he also had been rescued from the Golden Ray.

This event is truly something that will be talked about in the Golden Isles for years to come. People flocked to the Pier Village to watch as rescuers worked to free the men trapped in the ship.

Those that came out to see it, and those who didn't, will tell stories for decades about the day the Golden Ray overturned in the St. Simons Sound. The best thing about those stories will be that all 24 crew members lived to also tell their stories.

We cannot heap enough praise on the Coast Guard for putting up a tremendous rescue operation. The Coast Guard was on point quickly and worked tirelessly until all the crew members were safe.

Now that all four crewmen have been rescued, there are other issues that will come to the forefront. The Golden Ray still has to be salvaged from the channel. There are legitimate environmental concerns about fuel and oil leaking out into the sound that must be addressed. There is also the economical impact the incident could have on the Port of Brunswick.

But before we worry too much about what's next, let's take a moment to celebrate everyone who contributed to helping save the lives of all the crew members that were in danger. Their efforts will never be forgotten in the Golden Isles.

Online: https://thebrunswicknews.com

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Sept. 9

Savannah Morning News on lessons learned from Hurricane Dorian:

Monday morning quarterbacking often stretches beyond Monday morning.

In the case of Hurricane Dorian, we've been questioning decisions by state leaders, local officials and individual citizens for more than a week now.

With time comes perspective, and as we revisit the experience, there are several takeaways.

STATE

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp played the front man on the mandatory evacuation and, wittingly or unwittingly, gave the move an overtly political tone.

Kemp was going to draw criticism for the timing regardless, particularly after Georgians learned of the order through a leak.

Kemp's decision to spend Sept. 9 on the coast and assert his authority inspired some and alienated others. We appreciate his visiting our area to show his commitment, support and leadership. But when doing so at such a crucial point in disaster planning for the local officials, more subtlety is in order.

Come to town, sit in on emergency manager briefings, say a few words at press conferences, shake the hands of citizens at an evacuation center, help pack some emergency relief supplies, move on.

Kemp is a solid leader and supporting preparations with local officials out front is the way to assist future efforts.

LOCAL

An unsettling footnote to a mandatory evacuation order is affected counties are prohibited from establishing public storm shelters within their borders.

The logic is sound: an evacuation order is meant to move residents inland away from the winds and the floodwaters; not shelter them in what is considered a dangerous area. Reality is — and proved to be during Hurricane Dorian — something different: some citizens won't heed the warnings until it's too late to transport them out.

Savannah's leadership did the right thing in opening the Savannah Civic Center as a "shelter of last resort." Nearly 70 Savannahians showed up at the building as the storm made its final approach and stayed the night of Sept. 4 in the arena.

The shelterees quickly learned that the Civic Center, while solidly built and located on high ground, is not a suitable shelter. The roof leaks in spots, and the plastic seating is far from comfortable.

Perhaps the conditions will prompt those who sought 11th-hour refuge to act earlier next time. Every one of them could have caught the buses headed to inland shelters, each of them well-stocked with supplies and relatively comfortable.

Still, local governments would do well to coordinate on a last resort shelter for the future. Find the right building in the right location and invest in some basic supplies, such as cots.

They can do so quietly. Just so long as they are better prepared.

INDIVIDUALS

The governor's evacuation order was made out of an overabundance of caution. We get it.

Joe Savannah Citizen should not seize upon one mistaken call as reason to ignore future threats.

Hurricane Dorian was a monster storm that ravaged the areas it touched. Fortunately, the experts at the National Hurricane Center are skilled at forecasting a storm's track within a 72-hour window.

However, the public is increasingly jaded about hurricane forecasts, due in large part to the obsession with the extended cone graphic. This track projects out four and five days and often changes dramatically as weather systems around hurricanes build, shift or diminish.

The extended cone should be viewed as a call to readiness. If you're in it, get your stuff together and stay tuned. Three days' warning is plenty of time to make final preparations — board windows, stack up sandbags — and evacuate inland.

Listening to conversations around town in recent days, we are concerned that many of our neighbors are bent on riding out future storms unless a major hurricane is projected to make a direct hit.

Bad idea. Keep in mind that Hurricane Matthew was a Category 1 storm that passed 30 miles off our coast and did significant damage. Remember also that a Category 3 storm that makes landfall in the vicinity of Savannah will put much of Chatham County underwater.

The next time a storm threatens and we think of Hurricane Dorian, keep in mind a footnote popular within financial investment circles: "Past performance is no guarantee of future results."

Online: https://www.savannahnow.com

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Sept. 6

Valdosta Daily Times on Suicide Prevention Awareness Month:

Regardless of the circumstances, suicide is a tragedy.

And in the vast majority of cases, a preventable tragedy.

This is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.

No segment of our community is immune but young people and veterans are among our most vulnerable and at-risk. Still, suicide is not isolated to those groups.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline says there are numerous risk factors for suicide that include:

— Mental disorders, particularly mood disorders, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders and certain personality disorders.

— Alcohol and other substance use disorders.

— Hopelessness.

— Impulsive and/or aggressive tendencies.

— History of trauma or abuse.

— Major physical illnesses.

— Previous suicide attempt(s).

— Family history of suicide.

— Job or financial loss.

— Loss of relationship(s).

— Easy access to lethal means.

— Local clusters of suicide.

— Lack of social support and sense of isolation.

— Stigma associated with asking for help.

— Lack of health care, especially mental health and substance abuse treatment.

— Cultural and religious beliefs, such as the belief that suicide is a noble resolution of a personal dilemma.

— Exposure to others who have died by suicide (in real life or via the media and Internet).

So, NSPL says that everyone should be aware of certain warning signs that may be indicators someone is at or near the crisis point. These warning signs include:

— Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves.

— Looking for a way to kill themselves, like searching online or buying a gun.

— Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.

— Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.

— Talking about being a burden to others.

— Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs.

— Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly.

— Sleeping too little or too much.

— Withdrawing or isolating themselves.

— Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.

— Extreme mood swings.

There are more than 1,000 suicide-related admissions of children to Georgia hospitals each year.

State officials warn individuals who exhibit signs of suicide, or identify signs of suicide in others, can call the Georgia Crisis and Access Line, 1-800-715-4225, 24/7. All calls are free and confidential. Alternatively, visit www.mygcal.com for assistance.

We urge people to call for help if they, or someone they love or even know, appears to be at-risk.

Life is precious and worth saving.

Online: https://www.valdostadailytimes.com

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