Vote the IssuesAnn Nolan wrote a letter to the editor...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 08, 1992

Vote the Issues

Ann Nolan wrote a letter to the editor (March 24) saying she would sit out the presidential election because none of the candidates is worthy of her vote. I can certainly sympathize.

They do not seem to be a very admirable bunch. Perhaps someone else will rise in whom we will have more faith and whom we can admire.

The fact is that in my 50 years of voting, I have concentrated on the issues rather than the candidates. Of course in the campaigns of 30-second sound bites, the issues are not much addressed. But consider a few of the many issues that are before us.

When the election is over, which party and candidate are likely to agree with you on the issue of a woman's right to choose an abortion?

Which are likely to appoint federal judges who reflect your philosophy? (Of course, the Supreme Court is set in a very conservative posture for many years to come but lower court judges have a lot of power, too.)

How do you feel about all the presidential vetoes? Each represents an issue. Did the vetoes distress or please you?

There are so many issues, and it is possible to have at least an opinion as to which way each party and president would go on most of them. Not voting for the party that would most likely support your opinion in effect adds your vote to the total of the one that would most likely oppose it.

Edward V. C. Nicol

Baltimore.

Patient Abuse

Something seems amiss.

When psychiatrists, other therapists, other medical doctors and helping professionals are found to have conducted sexual relationships with their patients/clients, such as in the cases of John M. Hamilton, M.D. (The Sun, March 6) and Philip D. Walls, M.D. (March 27), their licenses are often "technically suspended" with limited practice being allowed under specified conditions.

In this state, the conditions frequently include specified supervision and psychotherapy for the offender at the offender's expense. I have never seen a case reported in the Maryland Medical Journal wherein the Maryland State Board of Physician Quality Assurance required the offender to pay for his or her patients' psychotherapy. Nor have I ever heard of any such case.

The survivors of sexual abuse by therapist or other health care providers in Maryland are left with the burden of facing further traumatization involved in pursuing a civil suit for monetary damages to help pay for much needed therapeutic therapy. Sometimes this includes additional disgrace to my profession when fellow psychiatrists provide "expert" witness testimony that is clearly contradictory to the American Psychiatric Association's standards (such as testifying that post-traumatic stress disorder only occurs in people who have been in combat or concentration camps, contrary to what is explicitly stated in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders).

Therapists and other helping professionals who have engaged in sexual relationships with their patients could lessen the consequences of the harm done by paying for the patients' subsequent therapy. Restoration of one's license to practice after ethical misconduct should include reparations to those most harmed.

Shelley Trazkovich, M.D.

Baltimore

All Must Pay

Baltimore County teachers are "upset." What a pity that the recession is hitting them so fiercely as to require them to work four days without pay.

I don't suppose they know much about how the recession is affecting tens of thousands of workers in Maryland. I wonder how they would feel about losing the jobs they've held for 10 or 20 years and have no place to go but the unemployment office.

Wake up, teachers! This is a recession and everyone pays a price. Be grateful for what you have. Everyone has to give up something. Unfortunately, there are far too many who have lost everything.

Ann Doherty

Mt. Airy

Doing Favors

Due to his insistence on a hefty cigarette excise tax increase, Governor Schaefer has been under attack from the tobacco industry and its apologists who accuse him of wanting the increase for emotional reasons. The truth of the matter is that the governor's action is based on cold hard facts.

In January, the Maryland Cancer Consortium and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene presented a detailed 142-page report to the governor. Among dozens of damning conclusions, the report states the following:

* Maryland has the highest overall cancer mortality rate in the nation, with approximately 9,000 cancer deaths per year.

* Forty percent of the cancer deaths in Maryland are related to smoking.

* In 1987, four of the five leading causes of death in Maryland were strongly related to cigarette smoking.

* The total estimated cost of smoking in Maryland in 1985 was in excess of $1 billion. I'm sure the cost today is much higher.

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