Transplants: a life-saving technologyI am astounded by the...

the Forum

January 18, 1993

Transplants: a life-saving technology

I am astounded by the Jan. 11 article reporting that President-elect Bill Clinton has promised health care reforms that will shift dollars from what he calls high-tech care to basic medical services -- and in doing so deny life to those desperately in need of transplants.

The article gives as an example that a successful kidney transplant would pay for itself within five years through savings on weekly dialysis treatments. Yet dialysis treatments are generally three or four times weekly -- not once a week.

Thus a transplant would pay for itself in less than five years. Only a dialysis patient would know how grueling these treatments are, not to mention the complications and expense of treatments and hospitalizations for grafts of various kinds.

After receiving a successful simultaneous pancreas-kidney transplant in 1992, my daughter has been given a new chance at life -- free of the diabetes which caused her blindness and the multiple insulin shots daily, dieting, plus all sorts of complications and aging from the disease she had for more than 17 years.

She now feels wonderful; no more dialysis treatments (truly a miracle). The estimated life span of a diabetic dialysis patient is approximately three years, so a transplant is their only hope.

The article mentioned 40 children died in a recent Los Angeles measles epidemic, which could have been prevented by a $15 vaccine. Many people do not take advantage of the various programs which would vaccinate their children as a matter of choice. Many parents were under the impression that there would not be another measles epidemic and so did not vaccinate their children. We need to make citizens more aware of what we already have -- not take away the life-saving benefits of those who need transplants.

I can't believe that at a time when our country has a $1 trillion deficit and needs to cut expenses, the government has spent millions for a toilet that would go into space, and millions more for an elaborate inauguration celebration. Yet it would take away dollars for transplants for our citizens.

There must be some other way we could cut medical costs without taking away the chance to save lives. With all the scientific research and education we have developed in order to save lives, should we now say "Don't use it?"

Ilene Dodd


County FOP ads are telling it like it is

Some media and political responses to the Baltimore County Fraternal Order of Police radio spots have accused the FOP of using scare tactics. If the truth is scary, the only thing the FOP is guilty of is waiting too long to reveal it.

Politicians can say anything with statistics. Take away the smoke and mirrors and the truth is that the citizens of Baltimore County are not as safe as they should be, and certainly not as safe as they think they are.

The truth is that last year 10,000 police cars were set up, meaning that that on 10,000 occasions a police car that should have been patrolling the streets was sitting vacant on a precinct parking lot because there was no officer available to man it.

The truth is that the current manpower of the Baltimore County Police Department is insufficient to put a full complement of officers on the street.

The truth is that police officers have to be ordered to work late or arrive early just to keep some of the patrol cars on the street. They may very well have to give up days off in order to keep just a portion of the police cars on the road.

The truth is that the manpower of many essential support units, such as the crime lab and investigative units, has been decimated.

The truth is that Baltimore County police officers are concerned for their own safety. They feel there are not enough of them to provide adequate back-up for each other.

The truth is that crime is up but police resources are dangerously low.

Citizens of Baltimore County have a right to know that their safety hangs in the balance. There are few people who know it better than the officers sworn to protect them. The bottom line is that what the FOP is saying is harsh reality; it's the truth. The citizens of Baltimore County shouldn't be scared. They should be outraged.

Ken Ziegler


Domed stadium

There has been much talk about the need to expand the Convention Center in Baltimore but there is another option that has not been considered involving the proposed National Football League expansion: Why not build a domed stadium?

It would help Baltimore financially. The state would benefit with the increase in tourism and other aspects. A year-round facility for sports could be used for larger conventions, along with Oriole Park at Camden Yards in the summer. If they are going to spend my tax money on a new football stadium, I would at least like the idea of a domed stadium examined.

atrick Brannan


Fair pay

At a time when every political subdivision is cutting services and searching for new sources of revenue, why not re-evaluate the tax-exempt property practices?

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