A Mother's Odyssey In Quest of Health CareI am a mother of...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

June 05, 1994

A Mother's Odyssey In Quest of Health Care

I am a mother of a severely challenged child. Or that's how other parents view it, but let's face facts: My child has cerebral palsy, a seizure disorder, profound mental retardation and visual impairment.

The dreams and hopes of a "normal" family are gone. Now we are in a new category. Unfortunately many of the parents in this category are forgotten. Forgotten by many families and, most important, by the health care system.

At six months, my son began seizures. We were told it was infantile spasms and he would be left moderately to severely impaired. Before his one-year birthday we were told there was cerebral palsy, retardation and visual impairment. Then we had more evidence of what we first suspected: a vaccine reaction. Of the lot number that my son received there were 125 adverse reactions and 11 deaths. (Of course at the time we were told a vaccine reaction was not possible.) Now we are desperately trying to seek out answers before we reach time limitations (for compensation).

. . . Even though my son has severe impairment we are not eligible for medical assistance. Why? We make too much money (we make below the median income). I have appealed to members of Congress, the governor and the president. The current system is designed to cater to the poor or discourage people from attaining any income. The wealthy can afford the services needed, but the middle class is left to fall through the cracks. Even the organizations that are available to us are not able to access funds. . . .

My proposal is for integrated child care for the parents of severely impaired children, better regulating of the health care professionals, mandatory regulation of vaccines and their reactions, and a re-evaluation of the medical assistance programs.

All the information that we have obtained has been by our family members. Some of the information should have been given to us by our entrusted health care professionals. . . .

The Howard County Infant and Toddlers Program has been outstanding in meeting the therapy needs of our son (now the funding for this program has been reduced). Along with HCITP, we have been fortunate to have a wonderful pediatrician, Dr. Henri F. Merrick. . . .

It is my plea to the community that we join forces and demand reform. Together, we can make a difference. Alone, nothing can be done.

Dara "Dee" E. Moore

Elkridge

Woodbine Inn

After reading the feature story on the Woodbine Inn in The Sun for Howard County May 12, I am compelled to comment on two points. . . .

On my first point, I believe a lot more publicity on the activities of area youth is much more important and newsworthy. Coincidentally, on Page 4B that day, there was a small headline and only a few short paragraphs on St. Michael's youth ministry. A write-up on local youth activities at St. Michael's and other area churches and youth associations is a lot more newsworthy than a hard-luck story on a business that has been dying a slow death for the last several years.

On the second point, it is truly amazing how one can take a few real facts and make them into pure fiction. The clientele has not patronized the Woodbine Inn for the last several years -- just ride by anytime and count the cars. . . . When Bob Nolf acquired the Woodbine Inn, it was one of the most popular restaurants in west Howard and southwest Carroll counties. (Many of the patrons and ex-patrons are Carroll County residents.) It was not unusual to find the parking lot full and cars parked on both sides of the Patapsco Bridge. During the past several years, it is truly unusual to find more than eight to 10 vehicles on the lot at any time.

The crab business has fallen off and . . . the evening and weekend restaurant customers, "elite" Howard countians or others, have long since taken their business elsewhere. Indeed, the most business seems to be between 4 and 6 p.m. when area working folks stop by for a beer on their way home. The regular patrons are an unusual mix of farmers, professionals, government workers, bank executives, construction workers, entrepreneurs, builders, manufacturing executives, technicians and heavy equipment operators. It might make a real human interest story to follow up on the community spirit of so many folks with such diversified backgrounds.

The "real personalities" of the Woodbine Inn are the day manager, Nancy Delp, and weekend manager, Barbara Patrick. These two ladies have done more than Mr. Nolf realizes in keeping what little business there is. . . .

I and many of the Woodbine Inn regulars wish Mr. Nolf a speedy recovery and hope that he is able to salvage at least part of his investment and hard work. Unfortunately, despite his credentials the food industry, Mr. Nolf has obviously not been as successful with the Woodbine Inn. Maybe it's time for new

management?

John H. Foertschbeck

Woodbine

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