What kind of country won't cure its ill?In these times of...

LETTERS

August 23, 1996

What kind of country won't cure its ill?

In these times of party conventions, we are constantly reminded how great America is and how proud Americans should be.

We are told over and over again that America is about its great people and their pursuit of the American Dream.

It seemed particularly astonishing to me, therefore, to hear the news of the lack of state funding to pay for protease inhibitors, these new drugs that could potentially cure AIDS.

According to recent reports, up to 18 states don't cover these medications at all, whereas others are restricting the eligibility to only certain patients.

The Americans who can't afford paying more than $15,000 per year for the treatment are thus condemned to die. Their particular American Dream ends there.

Is that because HIV-infected people are less Americans than the rest? Are they not as ''great'' as the other citizens? Are they less worthy?

My home country, Spain, is not the greatest and the richest country in the world. In my home country, however, the government guarantees full treatment with the new drugs to all HIV-infected individuals at no cost to them.

We are not constantly reminded how great is Spain and being Spanish -- maybe because we don't need to. We know how important it is to be a person and to stay alive, whether you are Spanish, American, rich or poor, straight or gay.

All this makes me wonder if all this flag-waving is nothing but the needed cover-up for another less-kind, less-compassionate and uglier truth.

F. Javier Nieto, M.D.

Baltimore

The writer is assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health.

Abortion terms disputed

I applaud The Sun for its (Aug. 15) article on the use of high-tech laparoscope surgery for hysterectomies.

I am still, however, deeply troubled that Mona Charen's outrageously biased and flawed column on late-term abortions was printed July 31 without accurate information provided as counterpoint.

The fact that Ms. Charen uses the term ''partial-birth abortion'' throughout her column displays her own ignorance on the subject, as there is no formally recognized medical procedure to which this term applies. Ms. Charen is merely using a misnomer created by anti-choice zealots and attempts, through her column, to horrify the uninformed public by using the same scare tactics as right-wing Republicans and Christian Coalition members do.

There's enough misinformation on women's health issues on the streets and on the sides of MTA buses in Baltimore without The Sun making matters worse. As the National Women's Health Network signs read in response to the false claim that abortion causes breast cancer, ''Get the facts."

Mary K. Guiden

Baltimore

False speculation in plane crash

I write in response to your news article of Aug. 18, ''Best hope for break in crash case may now lie in hunt for suspects.''

While restraining myself from a detailed analysis of the various hypotheses you list surrounding the tragic TWA Flight 800, I do feel obliged to strongly object to your baseless scenario placing blame on Athens Airport employees.

I would like to inform you of a fact of which you are clearly not apprised: All Athens Airport employees, from directors to support and cleaning staff, are government employees and, as such, are selected after a very rigorous security identification procedure. This might not be the case in other countries.

One should learn from other recent tragic cases that objective investigations, like charity, should begin at home.

Constantin Kokossis

Washington

The writer is charge d'affaires at the Embassy of Greece.

ERs in hospitals are old-fashioned

Congratulations to Maryland General Hospital on its new ''high-tech'' emergency facility that was featured in the Aug. 14 Business section of The Sun. It's encouraging to see that the importance and the pivotal role that emergency medicine plays in health care is being broadly recognized by a number of hospitals. Patients will be well served in their local communities.

The days when each hospital had an old emergency or accident ''room'' set aside for the unfortunate are gone. The modern emergency facility is truly a multi-functional department.

For example, in the newly renovated facility at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, the emergency department has dedicated areas for several clinical programs, including acute emergencies, trauma, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, emergency cardiac evaluation, rapid diagnoses, minor emergencies, behavioral/psychiatric emergencies and social work.

That facility is also the base for an advanced inter-hospital transfer (air and ground) program that essentially has mobile intensive care capabilities for both adults and children.

We also provide round-the-clock cardiac and trauma telemetry consultations to paramedics. Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center's new emergency department provides similar programs, as do many other area hospitals.

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