GBMC merger must protect health choices at life's...

Letters to the Editor

April 13, 1998

GBMC merger must protect health choices at life's beginning, end

The Greater Baltimore Medical Center's board of directors is about to make a decision that may affect the health of Baltimore-area women and their families. The hospital has always been the area's leader for women's health care. GBMC was formed by the merger of Presbyterian Eye, Ear and Throat Charity Hospital and the Hospital for Women of Maryland.

While we understand that the board believes that a merger with another hospital will build strength and alleviate financial pressures, women of the Greater Baltimore community do not want to be robbed of reproductive-care services.

We have many questions about how a merger with St. Joseph Medical Center would affect reproductive health and other medical care services.

How will contraceptives be affected? In regard to in-vitro fertilization or other fertility treatments, what will happen if an egg or a fetus needs to be extracted from the uterus? Also, if genetic testing is done during a pregnancy and an abortion is recommended or suggested, where will the woman go? What will be the impact on tubal pregnancies?

As for end-of-life issues, would living-will directives be honored?

We urge the board to make an agreement with St. Joseph or any other potential partner that supports the responsible choices that each man and woman makes within his or her own individual moral framework regarding health care.

Sen. Paula C. Hollinger


This letter also was signed by Sens. F. Vernon Boozer, Delores G. Kelley and Barbara A. Hoffman, and Dels. Shirley Nathan-Pulliam, Adrienne A. Jones, Michael J. Finifter, Robert L. Frank, Dan K. Morhaim, James W. Campbell, Maggie L. McIntosh and Samuel I. Rosenberg.

I applaud the forthright public comments of the three former directors at GBMC ("Ex-GBMC officials express concerns about merger," letter to the editor April 5).

In my opinion, the possible merger with St. Joseph would be a sad, shameful betrayal of the heritage and hope of GBMC. If financial security through merger is required, certainly a more suitable partner can be found.

Paul Edgar, M.D.


Finally, we come full cycle to appreciate phonics again

Kudos for The Sun's recent publicity regarding drugs, public subsidies, conservation and reading.

Forty years ago, the state was in a cycle of look-guess reading instruction -- Dick and Jane. My boss told me that when hiring secretaries to look for people educated out of state or from an older generation. Otherwise, they couldn't spell accurately.

I taught my sons to read when they were 5 so they would have a good phonics background and would be able to see how the written language evolved.

Miraculously, phonics has returned. Now we have apparently gone back full cycle, and The Sun has found that out.

Thurston Griggs


Cross-town expressway gone, should be forgotten

Michael P. McCarthy must have been delving into the concepts of Robert Moses, New York's public works guru who was hired by Baltimore in the 1940s to help solve its traffic problems ("Cross-town expressway had saving graces for inner city," April 8).

Mr. Moses' solution, typical of that era, was to funnel the entire flow of local and interstate traffic through the city's core. He proposed the "east-west expressway," a concept that survived several decades in various forms and was molded by the controversial "urban design concept team" before it was finally laid to rest by the lawsuit V.O.L.P.E. (Volunteers Opposed to Leakin Park Expressway) vs. Volpe (Secretary of U.S. Department of Transportation) in the mid-'70s.

Solving Baltimore's economic and industrial woes through a revival of the old cross-town expressway concept is highly dubious. What is certain, however, is a much higher concentration of pollution from auto emissions when increased traffic seeks the shortest route through the city rather than around the beltway.

As for the underutilized Leakin Park, why must some people view open spaces as areas in need of clearing and leveling for ball fields and other projects? Leakin Park is a Baltimore treasure that daily cleanses our air and water of pollution, produces life-sustaining oxygen, stems storm-water runoff, stores water, provides habitat for native plants and animals, serves as an outdoor classroom and a spiritual recharge area for harassed urban dwellers, all free of charge.

A cross-town expressway is an idea that has come and gone. May it R.I.P.

Ajax Eastman


Affluence and influence won derby for capital funds

I find it threatening and disturbing that the capital budget for Maryland is being used as a vehicle to reward the rich with tax dollars from all the citizens of this state ("Governor asks more capital spending," March 25).

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