Thursday, November 14, 2013
Bullying should never be ignored

By Dr. Anthony Policastro
Driving in Seaford last week I approached an intersection where the cars entering had a stop sign. I saw a car that was clearly not going to slow down for the stop sign. I slowed down. He went right through the stop sign without even slowing down. I honked my horn at him. He gave me the finger. I turned to my wife and said that the only thing he proved was that he was stupid and I was not. I suspect that if I had not slowed down and hit him, he would have blamed me for it. We often think of bullies as children that are on the school playground. We forget that when bullies grow up, they become bullies. Adolescents cyberbully other adolescents into committing suicide. College students post videos of gay students who then jump off bridges. Now we have an episode of an NFL player having to walk off a team because he was being bullied. The team acted surprised about the incident. They acted like school authorities sometimes do when bullying is going on under their nose. It is no surprise that Richie Incognito of the Miami Dolphins was accused of being a bully. In 2002, when he was a freshman at the University of Nebraska, he had a teammate storm off the field because he was bullying him. He was ejected from a game that year because of fighting. He later was suspended from the Nebraska team on two occasions which caused him to transfer to Oregon. They cut him loose before he attended a single practice. When he entered the NFL, he had a reputation for being a dirty player. He would fight after plays. He would try to injure other players' knees. He was voted dirtiest player in the league in 2009. That same year the St. Louis Rams cut him from the team after he got into a fight with the head coach. So this year he was with the Miami Dolphins. They knew his reputation and they should have been on alert for problems. He clearly bullied a fellow player. There are racist text messages that he sent to the player. There were other examples as well. The team has now suspended him. This is the fourth team to let him go since 2002. However, one would wonder how the Dolphins coaches could have let this occur. When I was a commanding officer in the military, it was my job to know what went on in all areas of my unit. There were times when I had enough evidence to do something about it. There were times when I had to wait to compile the evidence. However, it was my job to take action. For example, I had a bully who worked for me. He was actually sent to my unit because they felt that I could control his behavior. I had several counseling sessions with him to document his behavior and my attempts to correct it. One day he was screaming at another staff member in the hallway in front of patients. I called him in and told him that I would not tolerate that type of behavior in front of patients. It was unacceptable. I wanted his retirement papers. He retired and went on to become a bully as a civilian. I had similar issues with other bullies. It is no different for the coaching staff of an NFL team than it is for the principal of a school. They both have a responsibility to their players/students to protect them from bullies. Sometimes bullies are hidden. In a case like Richie Incognito, the coaching staff knows that he is a bully. They need to be on high alert and react quickly. That clearly did not happen. Bullying needs an atmosphere to thrive in. As adults we need to know that there are other adults who never outgrow being bullies. We need to recognize that and take the appropriate action when we see it happen. That may mean reporting it to the proper authorities and taking action if we are in a position of authority. Ignoring it is not acceptable.

Free glucose screenings offered Nanticoke Health Services will host a free glucose screening in honor of National Diabetes Awareness Month. The screening will be held from 7 to 9 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 15, at the Nanticoke E Z Lab located at 505 W Market St., Georgetown. This screening is free and registration is not required. An eight hour fasting is required. A registered dietician and certified diabetes educator will be available to answer questions and provide information about managing your diabetes. For more information about the screening, call 629-6611, ext. 8948.

Community CPR class offered Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will offer community CPR classes to anyone interested in learning CPR on Tuesday, Nov. 19, at the Nanticoke Training Center located on Water Street in Seaford. Participants will learn how to perform the basic skills of CPR on adults, children, and infants and how to help an adult, child, or infant who is choking and use of the AED. This classroom-based, video, and instructor-led CPR course offers families, friends, and community members the opportunity to learn CPR and need a course completion card. Classes are open to participants ages 12 and up. This program is specifically designed for those who prefer to learn in a group environment with feedback from an instructor. The target audience is those who have a duty to respond to a cardiac emergency because of job responsibilities or regulatory requirements. Cost is $45. Payment and registration is required by no later than five business days prior to the class. Late registrations may be accepted if seating is available. To register and to obtain a listing of class dates/times, contact the Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Training Center office at 629-6611, ext. 8919. Pre-registration is required.

'Easy as Pie' fundraiser The Delaware HIV Consortium announces the 10th Annual Thanksgiving Fundraiser, "Easy as Pie." Order a Thanksgiving pie (14 choices) for $20 and support services to people with HIV/Aids. Pies are from Linvilla Orchards, Just Desserts by Jekeitta, Achenbach Pastries and Pellman Bakery. Visit to order. All pie orders must be received by noon on Nov. 22. There are nine pick up locations throughout the state including Kent/Sussex Counseling Services in Dover and CAMP Rehoboth in Rehoboth Beach.

Nanticoke opens office in Hurlock Nanticoke Health Services announces the opening of a second primary care physician office in Maryland. Nanticoke Family Practice Hurlock will open Nov. 25, and will be located at 302 Collins Ave., Hurlock, Md. Jacqueline Ruark-Smith, PhD, FNP, will be joining Dr. John Appiott providing care at both the Hurlock and the Federalsburg office locations. Appointments are now being scheduled for both locations and can be made by calling 410-943-0846.

Hospice offers grief workshop Delaware Hospice's Family Support Center will present a workshop, "Coping with the Holidays," with Dr. Judy Pierson, clinical psychologist, from 10 a.m. to noon, on Saturday, Nov. 16, at the Delaware Hospice Center, Milford. In this lively and engaging presentation, Dr. Judy offers useful advice and suggestions to help you and your family cope with your loss during and after the holidays. To reserve your space, contact Michelle August at 302-478-5707, ext. 1103, or 800-838-9800, or email

NHS welcomes Dr. Ruiz Nanticoke Health Services welcomes Dr. Ximena Ruiz, MD to its medical staff. Dr. Ruiz joins Nanticoke Health Services as a rheumatologist at the Arthritis and Osteoporosis Center located at 1350 Middleford Rd., Ste. 502, Seaford. Dr. Ruiz completed her rheumatology fellowship training at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania. She completed her internal medicine residency at the University of Connecticut in Farmington. Dr. Ruiz is a member of the American College of Physicians, the American College of Rheumatology, and she is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Ruiz, call 628-8300.

Annual Run/Walk for MS The annual PNC Bank Thanksgiving Day Run/Walk for MS in Wilmington will take place on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 28. For more information and to register, visit All proceeds go to MS research and the programs and services needed by more than 1,550 Delawareans with MS and their families.