State trauma care lags behind nationI am a trauma critical...

the Forum

March 12, 1993

State trauma care lags behind nation

I am a trauma critical care surgeon who had been recruited by Dr. Kimball I. Maull for the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center to serve as chief of one of the four trauma services.

I had contracted for a home in the Baltimore area and was greatly looking forward to the prospect of working at the Shock Trauma Center.

Dr. Maull's termination without cause has resulted in my voluntary withdrawal from the position for which I had been recruited.

The Maryland medical system is unique in the world. It is currently the only integrated statewide system for pre-hospital and hospital emergency care.

However, this system has failed to progress and keep up with advances across the rest of the country and is now substantially behind the times.

Pre-hospital care and standards in Maryland lag far behind the rest of the country and as such have not kept up with the potential for the system.

This has been hidden from the people of Maryland, who have been deceived by those previously in charge of the program.

By forcing the ouster of Dr. Maull, politicians and individuals seeking political favor have mandated mediocrity.

Dr. Cowley's dream of providing the best possible care via the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services System has been subverted at the state level for political gain, by administrators at the University of Maryland Medical System for institutional gain and by some physicians at Shock Trauma for personal gain.

I am also very puzzled by the role of the governor in legislation now before the Maryland legislature, which would break up the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services System and place the Emergency Medical Services and the National Studies Center under a commission while placing the Shock Trauma Center under the hospital.

This legislation will effectively destroy the statewide Emergency Medical System in Maryland and extinguish the dream which had been made reality by Dr. Cowley.

The people of Maryland must realize that the system which has served them well in the past, and could be made to serve them even better in the future, is being destroyed for political aspirations and personal gain.

I can only hope that these events will finally be seen for what they really are by the citizens of Maryland and that the system will be saved for the benefit of the victims of injury and illness.

Scott B. Frame

Knoxville, Tenn.

The writer is a surgeon at the University of Tennessee Medical Center at Knoxville.

Prayer fair?

A Forum letter of Feb. 24, "Prayer, flag belong in the classroom," contained the following statement: "There was a time when parents felt very comfortable in sending their children school, because the school was an extension of things taught at home . . . "

Over the years, real democracy has crept into our lives, including our schools. We now recognize the importance and rights of minorities. This includes their chance to be heard.

Teaching respect for all should be a priority in the public school curricula. Therefore, if we have prayers, we should respect everyone.

Bringing prayer back into the schools may be all right, if you are willing to be fair, and not just have "our prayer."

Are you willing to have your children and grandchildren speak the Christian Lord's Prayer today, and in the ensuing days a Jewish prayer, a Muslim prayer, a Buddhist prayer, a Satanic prayer, et al?

Schools should be teaching basic skills for today's market. Parents should be responsible for preparing their children for learning and social survival.

Let's hear it for our democracy, the land of the free!

Charles Johnston

Pasadena

Basic problem

President Clinton has promised to reduce the deficit by 50 percent.

According to your Feb. 17 paper, the known national deficit is $4.1 trillion. The interest payment on the deficit is estimated to be $210 billion for the year.

If we did not have such an interest payment, we could be using that tax money to solve many problems that we have in this country.

I feel that there is a misunderstanding of what is meant by President Clinton's claim that additional taxes will reduce the deficit and get us out of the mess we are in.

It is my understanding that the federal government overspends by $290 billion a year. Half of that sum will be paid by increased taxes and half will be add to the $4.1 trillion debt.

Therefore, the reduction of the deficit by 50 percent means only that the rate of increase of the present debt will slow to a "mere" $145 billion a year, instead of $290 billion.

While I laud the president for being the first chief executive to actually tackle the deficit and to show leadership, I can't help but worry.

Is this plan enough to solve our basic problem?

Joseph A. Sweeney

Relay

Wrong city

I would like to point out a misstatement of fact in your editorial "NAACP Looks for a Leader" (Feb. 28).

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