Medical Students Value Serving Others
Editor: Of all your regular contributors to the Opinion * Commentary page, I believe Daniel S. Greenberg has the easiest job. While columnists Ellen Goodman, George F. Will and Carl Rowan may take predictable stances, at least they vary the topics of their columns.
Mr. Greenberg's columns haven't changed appreciably in the five years I've read them. Every one bemoans the current state of the American health care system, without offering a single possible solution to what all agree is a treacherous quagmire.
Now he tells us, in his column of April 30, the increasing numbers of students applying for admission to medical schools is a sign that these students expect to make fortunes practicing medicine. Therefore, dear American consumer, expect to pay ever-increasing amounts of your income in health insurance and medical bills.
As far as I know, future medical students no more have the gift of prophesy than do commentators. Those of us in medical education have been pleased by the reappearance of college students' interest in medical careers, viewing this as a return to a belief in the value of serving others. Many of today's students have lost interest in ''bottom-line'' professions like business and law that marked the students of the 1980s.
No one denies that the American health care system is a mess. Mr. Greenberg, who has added nothing to the debate over fixing the system in all the columns he has written, has stooped to a new low when he impugns the interest of students he has never met. Maybe Mr. Greenberg should get a new act. After all, if we ever do manage to change the health care system, what will he write about?
$James P. Richardson, M.D.
Editor: I wish to point out Marlene Sorosky's improper use of the word schizophrenia in her article on white chocolate in the April 28 food section. Ms. Sorosky describes Americans as having experienced a ''culinary schizophrenia.''
She mistakenly uses the word to describe a split nature with regard to food. Editors and writers take note: the word schizophrenia does not in any way define a state of multiple or conflicting personalities, although it is widely and frequently misused to suggest this.
Schizophrenia is a disease which affects roughly one percent of the American population. (According to Dr. E. Fuller Torrey, 118 more Americans are diagnosed with schizophrenia every day.)
Schizophrenia is a brain disorder. It results in an inability to sort and interpret incoming stimuli, therefore marring a person's ability to respond appropriately. It often drastically alters the senses and causes delusions and visual and auditory hallucinations.
Misusing the word schizophrenia contributes to public ignorance and misunderstanding of this disease. Each misuse has a subtle impact on the public's awareness of the disease and its seriousness which in turn affects funding for research into what is currently a sadly underfunded endeavor.
To use this term in a flashy, off-the-cuff manner is faddish and an insult to those who suffer from the disease and to their families who face the very real definition of schizophrenia every day.
Ann V. Christie.
Editor: Your editorial,''No Shots, No School,'' spotlights a growing community health problem affecting Baltimore.
The local statistics are staggering. A study released by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene indicated that pre-school children are the age group at greatest risk for diseases preventable by vaccination. For Baltimore, this conclusion is evidenced by the following:
* Though most children begin immunizations at the appropriate age of two months, 46.8 percent had not completed the required vaccination schedule by the age of 25 months.
* Only 49.8 percent had completed the third scheduled immunization visit at the required age of six months.
* The MMR vaccine -- measles, mumps and rubella -- recommended at 15 months of age had not been received by 21.5 percent of children at 24 months of age.
To insure the health of our children, barriers to accessibility must be eliminated. Funding for vaccination programs must be re-established.
The writer is president of the Junior League of Baltimore.
Editor: Rob Kasper ("Farm Bred vs. God's Own, The Sun, May 1") must not know much about where the ''farm raised food'' he's ''used to'' comes from if he thinks any of it could ''once frolic in a barnyard.''
The painful reality of the modern factory farm bears no resemblance to a bucolic Old MacDonald's farm.
Poultry, meat and dairy animals spend their entire lives in filthy stalls too small for them to turn around.
The only time they see the light of day is during their trip to the slaughterhouse.
If Mr. Kasper could see how his dinner was made he'd lose his lunch.