Editorial Short On TruthYour July 7 editorial, "Taking the...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

August 01, 1993

Editorial Short On Truth

Your July 7 editorial, "Taking the Heat at Springfield," characterizes government bureaucracies as dedicated to "following rules to the letter." It is interesting that the contents of the editorial and the news articles it was based on clearly demonstrate a complete lack of journalistic dedication to following the truth to the letter.

The editorial stated that Dave Wilmouth "received a reprimand" for reporting to work in shorts at Springfield Hospital Center. The truth is that a supervisor reviewed the dress code with him, informed him of his options for seeking change and documented the conversation in a memo to him.

You wrote that "his attire has been closely monitored since." This is flatly not true.

You quote Mr. Wilmouth as saying "women can wear shorts and tank tops," but men cannot. The truth is that neither men nor women are allowed to wear either one.

You wrote that "higher-ups in the state health department . . . avoided taking a position on this issue." The truth is that a spokeswoman for this department spoke at length with a Sun reporter. . . .

You wrote that the hospital has "a committee . . . to handle and resolve employee complaints," which will "probably take more than a month or two" to respond.

The truth is that there is a committee composed of members of the Department of Nursing which formulates and reviews such policies, but exceptions to policy can be approved by the director of nursing . . . within 24 hours or less. Mr. Wilmouth has yet to avail himself of this option.

. . . The truth is that there are valid reasons why shorts are no generally appropriate attire in a hospital -- for either male or female nursing personnel.

You imply that the hospital has ignored the issue of extreme temperatures in the McKeldin Building.

The truth is that the responsible clinical and support services administrators have been actively working toward resolution of that problem. Given the significant limitations of restricted budgetary resources, a large number of old buildings without modern renovations and licensing requirements, it is impossible to intervene overnight. This would be true even if one were not a "government bureaucracy."

In spite of these limitations, the hospital's efforts have recently resulted in the movement of the first of the three wards to an air-conditioned placement. Meanwhile, adjustments have been made in the current building to reduce the temperature level.

The real issue at hand here is an environmental condition significantly impacting on 70 patients and the attending staff.

The focus of the hospital has been toward resolution of this problem for all patients and staff involved, while the focus of The Sun appears to have been on the personal clothing preference of one nursing employee. . . .

Karen D. Lippy

Sykesville

The writer is director of nursing at Springfield Hospital Center.

Police Needed To Guard City

I thought the idea of the State Police hiding behind hay wagons to catch speeders was dumb. I found your editorial support to be dumber.

The fastest way to slow traffic is a high presence of marked police cars. If you doubt that, just watch drivers as they approach a police car or spot one in their rear-view mirrors. Radar traps generate cash and fill courtrooms because drivers know that points lead to costlier insurance and canceled policies.

A way must be found to allow offenders to pay the fine without getting points, thereby freeing up the courts and the police.

We could then bring the State Police from behind the hay wagons into Baltimore city, where I live, to work on the murder and crime problems; murders are moving along at a record breaking pace again this year.

Here's how to do it. Have the State Police patrol the Inner Harbor area, from Martin Luther King Boulevard to Broadway and from Interstate 95 . . . to Fayette Street. . . . Remember, the state of Maryland has a vested interest in downtown Baltimore's success. It cannot afford to have its citizens or visitors to be in fear of coming to the area.

We then redeploy the freed-up city police officers to concentrate on the high-crime areas of the city. These special teams could be moved from area to area as needed.

Nothing has worked so far. Why not try my idea?

R. A. Bacigalupa

Baltimore

Handgun Abuse

On June 28, Jane C. Caplan stated the position of Marylanders Against Handgun Abuse, on the NRA's position on the Second Amendment. Immediately above Ms. Caplan's letter is a letter by James Hadley of Towson expounding on Ricky Gates and others blaming their denial of responsibility on drugs or alcohol.

This is the same position the NRA takes on guns -- "Guns don't kill, people do." Drugs and alcohol don't kill; the inappropriate use of these is the killer. The inappropriate use of guns is also the killer. Ms. Caplan, the abuse of handguns kills and the NRA is against such abuse.

William L. Phillips

Hampstead

Senior Art

One of your staff reporters recently interviewed me for an article in the June 9 edition, about the "Maryland -- You are Beautiful" senior art competition.

I would like to say that this young lady was very professional. She was also very compassionate, very patient and very thorough. The article that she wrote about my art work was done in good taste, very well-written and accurate.

The reporter's name is Katie Richards. She is a credit to your organization.

Francis C. Wolfinger

Hampstead

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