Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk – June 23, 2017

Due to health privacy laws, all too often the condition and fate of people injured in Ocean City remains a mystery beyond the initial incident report. Typically the media learns if the individual dies from injuries sustained, but the majority of the time there’s little to report beyond the initial information about being treated with serious injuries.

The exception came this week when it was learned a young boy injured two years ago in Fenwick Island has made a full recovery. In fact, he returned to the site of his early treatment this week.

Back on June 20, 2015, then-9-year-old Zander Hartman of Lehighton, Pa. was crossing Coastal Highway west to east at its intersection with Route 54 when he failed to stop at the median. He was struck by a Chevrolet Suburban and sustained serious injuries. Shortly after the incident, it was learned he was expected to survive despite having severe internal injuries and skull and pelvic fractures.

On the two-year anniversary of the accident, Hartman and his family stopped in PRMC in Salisbury. It was interesting to learn this week that typically Hartman would have never gone to PRMC and instead been sent to a trauma center specializing in pediatric care. A severe weather front brought him to PRMC.

According to a post on PRMC’s Facebook page, featuring photos of Hartman with many of his caretakers in the hours after the accident, “PRMC’s doctors, nurses and other specialists quickly came together from different areas of the hospital – Emergency Department, PACU, ICU and Surgical Services – to ensure Zander’s survival” back in 2015.

Lois Theofiles, a patient care technician, remembers the night well, saying, “He had a lot of people working on him, and even more praying for him.”  The post continues, “They were able to stabilize his condition to the point where he could be transported by ambulance to Children’s National Medical Center in Washington.”

When he stopped in PRMC on Tuesday with his mother and sister, Hartman was able to meet members of the team who helped him.

The post continued, “And how’s this for a great coincidence? While he was here, a Maryland State Police helicopter was landing to bring in a patient – and it just happened to have medic Sean Thistle on board, who was responsible for flying Zander from Ocean City to Salisbury that night. Our deepest thanks to the Hartman family for letting our staff see Zander looking healthy and happy.”

Disqualified White Marlin Open angler Phil Heasley of Naples, Fla. broke his media silence this week when he provided statements to the Wall Street Journal for an article expected to be on the paper’s front page today. The online article, released yesterday, was headlined, “Congratulations, Here’s Your $2.8 Million Fishing Prize! Now for the Polygraph.”

“For the first time in my life, my integrity and honesty have been challenged, not because of any allegation of wrongdoing, but because of polygraph tests,” Heasley said in a written statement. “The toll that these events have had and continue to have on my family and my crew is massive and harrowing.”

Heasley’s boat captain issued a similar statement, saying, “My crew and I are honorable fisherman, nothing will ever change that, not skewed polygraphs nor distorted and fabricated timelines. My crew and I stand by our word and our reputation.”​

That all may be true, but the facts remain. They are not victims. Everyone involved failed the polygraph, which is a condition of the prize money being awarded to safeguard the integrity of the tournament. Everyone knows that when they enter the tournament. This is not to even mention the obviously doctored catch report detailing what time the fish was caught.

“Ultimately, this Court concludes that Mr. Heasley’s arguments are without merit,” the judge’s opinion read. “The White Marlin Open complied with its obligations and did not breach the Tournament Rules contract as a matter of law. Consequently, Mr. Heasley’s performance under that contract was not excused. By failing to satisfy the Tournament Rules’ polygraph requirement, Heasley himself failed to perform under the contract and is not entitled to the prize money.”

With the cost of everything seems to always be going up, the price at the pump is quite refreshing these days.

As of yesterday, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic, current gas prices in Maryland are $2.25 per gallon of unleaded gasoline, compared to $2.30 one year ago. Specifically, the average cost in Salisbury was $2.07 yesterday compared to $2.15 the same date last year.

Now if only the same trend could play out on the health insurance front. You know it’s bad when a 14-percent increase for a small business is simply accepted without a fight.

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.