New mothers kicked out of hospitalsRobert N. Sheff...


February 06, 1996

New mothers kicked out of hospitals

Robert N. Sheff, president of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Maryland HMOs, writes (Jan. 23, "Congratulations, Mom! Here'sthe door") that a 24-hour maternity hospital stay is ''the best choice given the alternatives." Best for whom? Certainly not for mothers and infants.

Most life-threatening complications to mother and infant do not occur until 24 hours after birth -- postpartum hemorrhage and infections in the mother, jaundice, dehydration and deadly infections in the newborn. Many anatomical anomalies in the newborn cannot be detected in the first few hours after birth.

Even when there are no complications, can a mother receive all the information necessary to care for herself and her baby in the few hours after birth? Remember that most insurance/HMO companies do not allow even a full 24 hours after birth. For many mothers, the 24-hour clock starts ticking after admission and mother and baby are out in as few as four hours after birth. Is it any wonder so few mothers successfully breast-feed when they are sent home days before their milk comes in?

The 48-hour stay for Caesarean section births is even more ridiculous. Having a baby via major abdominal surgery is not like having an appendix out. The mother has often spent hours in labor before the surgery and once released from the hospital must immediately assume around-the-clock care of an infant.

A visit from a nurse after going home is certainly better than nothing, but is that enough? Even if the ''nurturing environment'' that Dr. Sheff recommends is provided by family and friends, this cannot be compared to the safety and professional care found in a hospital. In 1991, my sister nearly died of postpartum complications after an early release. After being readmitted to the hospital she had to spend a week in intensive care. Early release is not always cost effective.

Lisa Stahley, R.N.


Segregating Council is a crime

City Council Member Melvin L. Stukes, said in regard to the planned blacks-only council retreat, ''If we have violated any laws, then we expect to be arrested when we come out of the meeting.''

Note to Police Commissioner Thomas C. Frazier: Get the handcuffs ready.

How can this not be city business if police, housing, education and economic development officials are invited? If the focus is on how politicians can better assist the black community? This isn't city business?

Council member Sheila Dixon says, ''This is not a segregationist group. You would think we have committed a crime.''

The dictionary defines segregation as, ''to separate or set apart from the main body or group.''

And yes, the retreat is segregation and holding it amounts to committing a crime. Note to Attorney General Joseph Curran: Convicted by their own words.

Richard P. Doran


City rightly cleared snow for ceremony

Jon K. Ayscue (letter, Jan. 27) criticized Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke for having had snow cleared from the area of the statues to Gen. Robert E. Lee and Gen. Thomas J. ("Stonewall") Jackson on Art Museum Drive, instead of from school bus stops, thereby ''forcing children to stand in the street.''

That snow was cleared by a number of volunteers, in addition to the city workers, for a ceremony honoring the generals on Jan. 20. A crowd of several hundred people was present and ZTC included a fair number of the elderly, infirm and children.

Those of us who were present for the ceremony and who did not have to stand in the street applaud Mayor Schmoke's administration for its concern, courtesy and common sense.

P. James Kurapka


Militarily speaking, Clinton is no Lincoln

I had to chuckle when I saw Marbury L. Councell's letter Jan. 29 comparing President Clinton to such presidents as Jefferson, Lincoln, Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt who led the nation during time of war, but had never donned a uniform.

I would like to point out that Lincoln indeed did serve in the military. Although he did not see combat, he was a captain in the Illinois militia during the Black Hawk War.

Comparing President Clinton to these presidents is erroneous. The major difference between these great men and the current occupant of the White House is that Roosevelt, Wilson and Jefferson were never called upon to serve, never said, ''Hell no, I won't go,'' never manipulated the deferment and ROTC systems and never protested against their own country in a foreign land.

Sorry, there is no plausible comparison here.

Stephen R. Bockmiller


Hillary Clinton called an asset

Hillary Rodham Clinton is the best thing that has happened to this country.

The negative propaganda about her has increased the chance of her husband's victory in the 1996 elections.

Mutlu Urcun Atagun


Nature changes, but not its laws

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