Martin's Glen scandal reveals the limits of...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

May 15, 2000

Martin's Glen scandal reveals the limits of `assisted-living' care

The Maryland Nurses Association, which I represent in Annapolis, has in concert with others, vehemently protested the state's allowing assisted-living facilities to house individuals whose conditions required a higher level of care than assistance with acts of everyday life.

The nurses feared that, under the guise of the seemingly benign concept of "aging in place," burgeoning assisted-living facilities would become de facto nursing homes, without proper staffing. Nurses see the financial incentives to keep persons in assisted-living facilities that can't care for them as a tragedy waiting to happen

The Sun's recent article on Martin's Glen assisted-living facility graphically demonstrates the consequences of just such a situation ("Officials threaten sanctions for assisted-living facility," May 4).

While that situation there is deplorable for those involved and their families, the ultimate question is: Why were these patients allowed at Martin's Glen and what is being done to assure that similar things are not occurring in other facilities?

Martin's Glen should be a wake-up call. Is anyone listening?

Rob Ross Hendrickson

Baltimore

The writer is general counsel for the Maryland Nurses Association.

Are some cost overruns more equal than others?

There is a curious disparity between the fee payment situation reviewed in Scott Shane's article "How many lawyers does it take to ..." (May 7) and that reported in "Cost draws city probe" (May 8).

According to the former article, Peter Angelos contracted with the state to sue the tobacco companies for a contingency fee, originally set at 25 percent of the settlement. The Maryland legislature balked and reduced fee to 12.5 percent.

The suit is settled. The settlement is huge and so is contingency fee. The state balks at paying.

By contrast, the latter article reports the city accepted a low bid of $427,025 from Phipps Construction Contractors Inc. to clear properties at 400 S. Central Avenue and 1205 Bank Street.

So far the city has paid more than twice that amount -- more than $1 million -- in cost overruns. And the work goes on, unfinished.

This must say something about contractual agreements in Maryland, but I can't figure out what.

Franklin T. Evans.

Baltimore

Opera's three tenors deserved more respect

When The Sun announced that Tim Smith would be its new classical music critic, I was delighted. I had seen some of his work in the Florida Sentinel and occasional reviews in Opera News magazine.

I enjoyed his article enticing people to give opera a chance ("Let yourself be seduced by opera," April 30). But I must admit to some chagrin when I read "Enough with the 3 tenors, already" (May 7).

When he says these large arena concerts have seen their day, he may be right. But are we to have reviews only of performances which Mr. Smith enjoys?

I'm sure I'm not the only fan who would like to know what the tenors sang and how they sang it.

The rather flippant writing style also disturbed me. When Mr. Smith speaks of Placido Domingo sounding "frayed around the edges," what does this mean?

On what occasion, in what song? Has Mr. Domingo lost his beautiful tone quality? Is he singing out of tune?

And, just as an afterthought, I can't imagine someone of the stature of James Levine associating himself with an event totally lacking in musical value.

Caroleen Baummer

Baltimore

Ticks don't need a day to transmit Lyme disease

I was pleased to see The Sun's front-page article on Lyme disease, which is a growing concern for Marylanders ("Lyme disease warning sounded," May 9).

However I wish to correct one common and dangerous myth: It is not true that a "tick must be attached to the skin for 24 hours before it can transmit the disease."

The eminent doctor for whom the Lyme disease causing spirochete is named notes that as many as 10 percent of ticks may themselves have disseminated Lyme.

Such ticks begin transmitting Lyme less than one hour after beginning to feed.

Keep in mind as well, that tick-borne co-infections Babesiosis (a protozoa) and Ehrlichiosis (a virus) can also transmitted any time after the tick's attachment.

The tick-attachment myth is one of several that continue to put us at risk.

I'd like to see Maryland begin a comprehensive Lyme disease education campaign.

Marjorie Roswell

Baltimore

Beyond equal pay for equal work

As a young woman in the workforce, I understand Bonnie Lipton's motivation for citing the much publicized statistic about a gender wage gap ("Equal work should mean equal pay," OpinionCommentary, May 9).

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