Can use organs from shooting victimsThe Nov. 4 article...


November 12, 1995

Can use organs from shooting victims

The Nov. 4 article, "Man kills himself at hospital, wanted organs to be used for transplant," accentuates a point of deep frustration for those of us whose patients benefit from the transplantation of tissues.

The article quoted police as saying the victim's "vital organs were useless for transplants because organs are usually taken from the bodies of people who are brain-dead, but whose hearts are still pumping blood."

That statement simultaneously underscores the confusion and ignorance of the news media, law enforcement agencies and, sadly, within the medical profession itself that exist regarding the donation of organs and tissues.

In fact, portions of organs can be used to great benefit from anyone who dies, whether their heart remains beating or not. Skin, the largest organ of the body, is a life-saving donation that we use in our burn patients. The donation of eyes is a sight-giving donation through cornea transplants. Heart valves and bones are other tissues taken from organs of non-heart-beating donors that can save lives and the function of limbs. These tissues are portions of organs and they are highly valuable to the recipients.

To state that a non-heartbeating donor's organs are useless does a great disservice to patients who could benefit from them. It also does disservice to all of us who deserve the chance to donate organs and tissues to help someone else when we die.

It is no wonder that the public continues its ignorance and confusion when those of us who should do not know that anyone who dies -- brain-dead or not -- can donate an anatomical gift.

Robert J. Spence, M.D.


Aid to private schools is unfair to taxpayers

Advocates of tax aid for denominational schools (''Catholic group starts Md. drive to help schools,'' Oct. 31) apparently overlook the following considerations:

Maryland voters in 1972 and 1974 rejected proposals to provide tax aid for non-public schools.

It is not fair for Maryland taxpayers to be taxed to aid non-public schools not under public control, as are our public schools.

If Catholic schools are to receive tax aid, then so too must fundamentalist schools that regularly denigrate the Catholic Church, Nation of Islam schools that probably echo the views of Louis Farrakhan and a host of other private sectarian schools.

Non-public schools tend to attract or select religiously homogeneous student bodies and faculties and to provide specifically sectarian teaching. It is wrong to compel all taxpayers to support such institutions.

The experience of Howard County demonstrates that transportation services for non-public schools cost considerably more per capita than service to public schools. Where would the extra money come from?

Non-public schools, unlike public schools, are not required to serve handicapped students. It is wrong for Maryland taxpayers to have to support private schools that do not have to play by the same rules as public schools.

The last thing Maryland needs is another divisive fight over proposals to divert public funds to a multiplicity of sectarian special interest schools.

Edd Doerr

Silver Spring

The writer is executive director, Americans for Religious Liberty.

Honorifics instill moral values

I am somewhat puzzled by Stephanie Shapiro's Oct. 25 article, "An Age of Informality," on the etiquette of honorifics. Has society reached the stage where this, too, is being questioned?

Respect is a virtue and taught at an early age. It plants the seeds of moral education and of right and wrong. Respect is not only calling an elder by Mr. or Mrs. but understanding the reasoning behind authority.

Honorifics should include more than just the proper titles for adults. They should include words such as please, thank you, you're welcome and excuse me. Should not the proper etiquette in meeting Mr. or Mrs. Smith also include a handshake? Proper virtues have been taught to children at very young ages throughout time.

Was it not Plato who said that the beginning is the "time at which the character is being formed and the desired impression is more readily taken"? I applaud those interviewed who said that children need authority. Read the newspapers. Is there not a problem with increased drug abuse, pregnancy and crime among teen agers? A friendly parent can be an authoritative one as well.

Requiring children to use the proper honorifics instills in them not only a sense of respect for their elders, but eventually a sense of respect for themselves.

Teaching respect to children at a young age is as vital as the virtue itself.

Kathie Krieger


Don't blame GOP for poor turnout

To blame the local Republican Party for the poor general election turnout in Baltimore was rather preposterous.

We had five other City Council candidates besides Joseph Brown Jr. You unfortunately decided not to cover them. Our "Agenda for Baltimore City" was praised widely, even by your editorial page.

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