Make Shock Trauma AccountableLast October, The Sun...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

January 01, 1993

Make Shock Trauma Accountable

Last October, The Sun published articles and editorials regarding allegations that Shock Trauma Center is "overrated." Dr. Kimball Maull, the new director of the center, purported to have "proof" that Shock Trauma ranked near the bottom in national evaluations of trauma centers.

As a former Shock Trauma patient, accusations of inferior medical care are highly inconsistent with my personal experiences.

In mid-October, I personally asked Dr. Maull for documentation to support his published remarks. My request was denied.

Out of frustration, I wrote a letter to the editor (Nov. 3) in which I challenged Dr. Maull to release his "independent study" for public review and scrutiny. My challenge went unanswered.

Therefore I sent a certified letter asking him for the proof. Finally, I received a two-sentence reply stating that "this information remains the property of the Medical System, a private, non-profit corporation and therefore is not available to the public."

I subsequently discovered that a committee was established to review quality of care at Shock Trauma and review Dr. Maull's "proof." This new committee was headed by Dr. Stephen Schimpff, executive vice president of the University of Maryland Medical System.

I called Dr. Schimpff's office and requested information. Dr. Schimpff also refused to share any information or conclusions from the committee's review of Dr. Maull's purported study.

I now return to the press to share this dilemma. Dr. Maull claims to have proof that Shock Trauma is inferior. Proof is based upon facts. If Dr. Maull cannot share his facts, then there is no proof. If there is no proof, then there is no justification to publicly question the Shock Trauma System and the competence of its nurses and doctors.

And, what has come of the University of Maryland Medical System review of Dr. Maull's proof?

Is it possible that Dr. Schimpff's Committee found Dr. Maull's proof is lacking in basis, methodology, or data? Is it possible that Dr. Schimpff finds himself between the proverbial rock and a hard place: wanting to support Dr. Maull but legitimately and scientifically unable to do so?

Perhaps Dr. Schimpff's committee is dealing with an enormous public relations mistake made by Dr. Maull's premature release of unsubstantiated conclusions.

As a result of my inquiries, I have stumbled into an unresponsive, unaccountable bureaucracy; a bureaucracy that is no longer part of the State of Maryland.

This situation raises many new questions. What really is the relationship of the University of Maryland Medical System, the Shock Trauma Center and the citizens of Maryland?

Does anyone have authority or control over Dr. Maull's actions? Should not some state agency ultimately have authority over the director of Maryland's Shock Trauma Center?

Is it in the public's best interest to have Shock Trauma controlled by a private corporation? Is there a conflict of interest regarding profit-making versus life saving? Can the director of the Shock Trauma Center be allowed to hide behind the private corporate shield?

Perhaps it is time to enlist the Maryland legislature to make the system and Dr. Maull accountable. It does seem that the state should establish a board of directors over Shock Trauma, a board that has authority over the director of Shock Trauma. Since Shock Trauma was built with taxpayer dollars and therefore belongs to the public, private control is unacceptable.

Hazel Heeren

Severna Park

Set-asides

I would like to comment on your article concerning the recent decision of the Board of Estimates and Comptroller Jacqueline F. McLean to deny the request for minority set-aside status of Emil S. Abdelsayed.

In my opinion, this decision has extraordinary ramifications if a precedent is set affecting future similar decisions.

Mr. Abdelsayed is inarguably a member of the race of people with Negroid genetic disposition. To differentiate him because he is directly from Sudan, rather than the descendant of a slave from Mississippi whose ancestors may have been from Sudan, is itself discrimination of a far worse kind than discrimination between whites and blacks, or Jews and Christians, or any other type of traditional discrimination.

By denying his status as a minority, Ms. McLean makes it clear that minority set-asides are not at all about racial equality as the proponents would argue. In fact, minority set-asides are a back door attempt at retribution payments to historically abused classes of people and have nothing to do with alleviating existing racial biases.

Whether the retribution payment approach is morally or legally right or wrong is a separate issue which must be discussed on its own terms. If this discussion resolves that retribution is warranted, perhaps the best approach is similar to how a corporation handles a large class action suit; one large lump sum distribution divided among all plaintiffs.

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