Device that shocks hearts could save many Maryland...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 25, 1999

Device that shocks hearts could save many Maryland lives

Cardiac arrest kills more than 360,000 people a year in this country. That is one of the reasons why the Maryland General Assembly deserves applause for passing a bill "public access defibrilation" bill that will expand use of advanced technology for treating dying hearts.

Defibrillators are devices, often seen on medical shows, that shock the heart of a cardiac arrest victim. Until recently, they have mostly been used in ambulances and emergency rooms. But today, a new generation of these machines is computerized and automated, making them easy for trained laypeople to use. The American Heart Association supports CPR and early defibrillation as ways of helping people survive heart attacks, which are the number one killer of Americans.

The Maryland bill, passed by the legislature and now pending before the governor, will encourage the use of these automated defibrilators in public places such as schools gymnasiums, shopping malls, airplanes, police cars, hotels and golf courses. Within a few years, these machines should be as commonplace as fire extinguishers.

Since the establishment of the University of Maryland's Shock Trauma Center and the Maryland Institute of Emergency Medical Services System in the 1960s, Maryland has been in the forefront of emergency medical and trauma care nationwide. By encouraging public access to defibrilation, this new legislation will take the state to an even higher level of health care.

If he signs the bil, Gov. Parris Glendening will continue Maryland's tradition of health care leadership.

Dr. James A. D'orta, Washington

Support police dogs, not sports arena

I think we have our priorities mixed up when Baltimore County's police K-9 units have to resort to asking private citizens to donate their expensive German Shepard dogs, free of charge, yet there's talk of building a new sports arena for $200 million.

I thought public safety and police enforcement came first, but it seems when it comes to sports, that is forgotten.

I agree with Dan Rodricks that the new arena should be paid for by the "fat cats" and state money should go to the dogs!

Shirley Marx, Ocean City

Tobacco revenues will help addicts, teens

In his April 20 letter to the editor, "Use tobacco taxes to help nicotine addicts," Robert DiStefano argued that the revenue the state will get from the tobacco settlement and the 30-cent increase in tobacco taxes should go to provide treatment for addicted smokers.

The General Assembly has done just that. Maryland will receive more than $4 billion over the next 25 years under the settlement of the lawsuits brought against the tobacco industry by Maryland and other states. Under House Bill 751, which I introduced and the legislature passed, preventing teen smoking will be our first priority in spending this money.

The law mandates that at least half of the tobacco settlement money will be spent on: smoking cessation programs; reduction of tobacco use by minors; public education campaigns to discourage tobacco use; enforcement of the laws restricting tobacco sales; prevention, treatment, and research on cancer, heart and lung disease; primary health care in rural areas and those communities targeted for marketing by the tobacco industry; substance abuse treatment and prevention programs; alternative crop uses for agricultural land now devoted to tobacco; and providing health care to the uninsured through the Maryland Health Care Foundation.

Further, the law raising the cigarrete tax requires the state to spend at least $21 million a year for programs to reduce tobacco use in Maryland. Smoking cessation programs will be among the activities funded.

Samuel I. Rosenberg, Baltimore

The writer is a member of the Maryland House of Delegates from Baltimore.

County sheriff should focus on the job at home

The Sun's editorial praising Baltimore County Sheriff Anne Strasdauskas for her cleverness in orchestrating a personal appearance on the Rosie O'Donnell Show, ("The Anne and Rosie show," April 14) overlooked a few questions.

Did the Sheriff take a vacation day when she appeared on the program, or did she do it on county time? And why did she wear her official uniform to New York to attend the broadcast if she was attending the show as a private citizen?

The Sun has a long history of criticizing public officials who misuse the trappings of public office for purely personal reasons. I am therefore astonished that you would in this case condone, indeed applaud, a clear of such conduct here.

As a Baltimore County taxpayer, I am more concerned about the Sheriff's activities in Towson than her televised showboating. She should forget about Oprah and Rosie, and instead educate her constituents about her plans for the job she fought so hard to win.

Richard J. Cross, III, Timonium

New art critic really captured Sommer

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