Walter Paytons death shows the need for more organ...


November 11, 1999

Walter Paytons death shows the need for more organ donors

Walter Payton, one of the greatest football players of all time, died last week. He had been on the waiting list for a liver transplant, although when he died he may have been too sick to receive a transplant.

The day Mr. Payton died, two or three other people probably died while on the waiting list for a liver. Another three or four died waiting for a heart or lung and five or six died waiting for a kidney.

And the next day, 10 or 12 more people died waiting. And the day after that, too.

About 4,000 people will die this year while waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. And next year, too.

More lives could be saved if more people were organ donors and if more doctors, nurses and hospitals supported donation.

Why dont more people become donors? Many are scared or misinformed.

Some fear signing a donor card means that if theyre hospitalized, some doctor will let them die to get their organs.

Some think they need to be buried with all their organs. Some think donated organs go to rich and famous people first.

None of these myths are true. Money cant buy organs. Only generous, caring people can increase the supply of scarce organs, by sharing the gift of life.

Think about it and share your decision to donate with your family. Help somebody else to live. It might be your neighbor, or a family member, or even a famous guy like Walter Payton who needs your help.

Be an organ and tissue donor. Be a hero for life.

Marion Borowiecki


The writer is chief executive officer of the Transplant Resouce Center of Maryland.

Lying to get patients care may raise costs, hurt trust

Further perspectives are needed on the recent study whch found that many doctors say it is acceptable to lie to third-party payers to obtain medical care for patients who cant afford it (Doctors say lying OK to aid patients, Oct. 25).

One of the researchers who conducted the study said doctors need to be removed from the position of being both the patients advocate and cost controller.

However, in this new medical era, doctors may need to balance patient advocacy against insurers de-facto rationing mechanisms to control health care costs, which is also an important imperative.

Doctors need to consider the effects of their decisions on other patients, who may be adversely affected by decisions that cause spiraling health care costs.

Lying to insurers can also have profound effects on the patient-physician relationship, as patients might begin to wonder: If the doctor is willing to lie for them, would the doctor lie to them?

Dr. Henry Silverman


The writer is a medical ethicist at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Church Home hospital could have been revived

The Suns article Leaving Home (Nov. 1) gave a glimpse of the sadness of Church Home Hospitals closing. But its hopeful words and the brave smiles in the photographs didnt do justice to these elderly residents being uprooted from what they trusted would be their last home.

Something is wrong with this picture: Assisted-living facilities are under construction by the dozens and many existing homes are expanding. Yet an institution with a fine reputation, deeply rooted in Baltimore history closes its doors.

Where are the visionaries who could have seen Church Home as the core of an East Baltimore retirement community?

I mourn the passing of this very special place.

Sarah B. Hanson


Freedom from religion is part of religious freedom

In her recent letter, Ginger Chiveral claims that there is no constitutional freedom from religion. (Freedom of religion, not freedom from religion, Nov. 7).

The First Amendment has two clauses concerning religion because its writers recognized that religious freedom requires freedom from other peoples religions.

The first prohibits laws respecting an establishment of religion. This protects our right to worship (or not) as we please.

The second clause protects the free exercise of religion. But the first reminds us that this doesnt include efforts to impose religion via legislation, or through a public institution such as schools.

A business owner is free , to alienate non-Christian customers by giving discounts for those bringing church bulletins.

But maybe the myth that this is a Christian nation will be dispelled when he or she goes out of business.

Carl Aron


Ginger Chiverals letter states: nowhere is any American granted freedom from religion. We are granted freedom of religion. There is a big difference.

There is a big difference but both are covered by the First Amendment.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion... covers my freedom from religion. The later clause ... or prohibiting the free exercise thereof provides for freedom of religion.

I respect her right to practice her religion, and expect my right not to practice it to be honored as well.

But I think it is worthy of note that the Founding Fathers saw fit to suggest freedom from religion first.

George Taylor


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