Mental hospitals article disturbing

Letters

The story does not acknowledge the dedicated people who care for the patients.

April 11, 1999

I feel The Sun article of March 14 on "Psychiatric hospitals stand almost empty," was quite disturbing because of my observations of Springfield Hospital in numerous visits during the past few years.

The story does not acknowledge the dedicated people who care for the patients. It does not address the variety of chronic conditions treated at the hospital. The reporter seems to focus on negativism. Of course, there are positives to report, too.

The article suggests that by closing the facilities the state will save money. But returning these patients to the community for treatment will create financial woes for those who cannot afford the prohibitive costs of private psychiatric centers. It will be especially burdensome for those who are not ambulatory and require prolonged hospitalization.

The answer is not to close these hospitals. There should be an evaluation by qualified professionals to determine the cost and efficiency of the institutions mentioned.

Of prime concern should be the moral aspect of terminating care for a segment of our population who cannot help themselves and cannot afford the necessary treatment.

Many patients have no contact with the outside world. Facilities such as Springfield Hospital are caring for these unfortunates.

Instead of closing the facility, the goal should be to broaden the use of the hospital by investing funds to maintain the dignity of these patients who have been getting TLC from dedicated health care professionals that are understaffed and are working with economic restraints.

We must show more concern toward our mentally ill patients.

Robert I. Schattner, D.D.S. Bethesda

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"Viewpoints" supplements editorials on Carroll that appear on the editorial page of The Sun during the week.

Pub Date: 4/11/99

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