Letters to the Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 03, 2003

Bill would limit access to care for terminally ill

What's been missing from the debate over state legislation on hospice care comes through clearly in "Md. Senate acts to leash expanding hospice chain" (March 28) - a critical examination of the premise that there is no unmet need for home hospice services in Maryland.

Evidence and common sense belie that premise. A recent study ranks Maryland 23rd among states in use of hospice services. Overall, only 20.5 percent of dying Maryland residents used hospice services. And Maryland is lagging significantly in the growth in use of hospice by Medicare patients.

But while the population is aging and the need for hospice care is growing, the number of hospice service providers serving Maryland has in fact decreased over the last decade.

And this bill would further reduce the availability of hospice services by eliminating or severely restricting access to a home hospice program that has operated throughout the state and served Maryland well for more than 20 years.

Stephanie Lewis

Silver Spring

The writer is a member of the board of Maryland Community Hospice.

Maybe Maryland has better doctors

The legislative saga over physician discipline continues ("Senator's plan for revising physician sanctions criticized," March 28).

But amid claims that fewer physicians are disciplined in Maryland than in other states, perhaps one simple explanation has been overlooked. Maybe Maryland simply has better doctors.

It is no secret that people needing medical care come to Maryland from around the globe. They must have a good reason.

Elizabeth H. Lehmann

Phoenix

Unite to destroy Hussein's evil regime

Just two weeks into the Iraq war, can there be any doubt that Saddam Hussein is capable of unspeakable evil?

Reports indicate that Mr. Hussein's regime has tortured and killed fellow Iraqis, and that death squads force men to fight for Mr. Hussein by threatening to kill their family members ("Iraq war begins to widen," March 29).

Iraqi troops hide behind children and women wearing civilian clothing as they fire on coalition soldiers, use white flags to ambush, fire on their own people as they try to flee and torture and murder prisoners of war.

All of this because of one man - not President Bush, not Prime Minister Tony Blair, just Saddam Hussein.

We need to come together in undivided support for our leaders and troops in their efforts to rid the world of this wicked regime.

Benedict J. Frederick Jr.

Pasadena

Attacking invaders is not terrorism

Do I understand this correctly? If a big airplane flies over Baghdad and drops bombs that kill anybody who happens to be around, that is war. But if a taxi drives up to a military checkpoint and the car explodes, killing four U.S. soldiers and the Iraqi in the cab, that is terrorism ("`This is not war. It is terrorism,'" March 30).

That distinction must be more obvious to Capt. Andrew J. Valles and the other "stunned and angered commanders" than it is to this civilian, reasonably patriotic U.S. citizen.

Franklin T. Evans

Baltimore

Calling a suicide attack on American soldiers "terrorism" is extremely biased.

We usually think that throwing a bomb in a public market, bombing a school bus or crashing airplanes into buildings are what makes a terrorist act. Now we see a near-powerless Iraqi army putting up a fight against the new empire with unconventional means, and call it terrorism.

Attacking civilians is terrorism. Fighting soldiers is war.

If we are terrorized as we engage in a guerrilla war then that is just one more reason not to be in Iraq.

Myles Hoenig

Baltimore

`Friendly fire' still causes great pain

What bothers me the most about the war in Iraq are the stories of U.S. military units mistakenly attacking fellow coalition forces ("U.S. resumes air assaults," March 28).

In this age of precision-guided bombs and spy drones, why are we still making these historic blunders?

It is bad enough for soldiers to be killed, even executed, by the enemy, but even worse for families to find out that their son or daughter was killed by accident by friendly fire.

Lance Gutin

Owings Mills

Al Gore's agenda earned respect

In "Media don't always live up to the `liberal' label - remember Al Gore?" (March 30), Gregory Kane asks why anybody would like Al Gore. I can answer that question.

Like millions of Americans who voted in the presidential election of 2000, I liked the former vice president well enough to give him my vote. I would do the same thing today without hesitation.

Mr. Gore has distinguished himself as a champion of the environment, civil rights, economic opportunity for struggling families and the preservation of social programs for Americans in need.

By contrast, the current occupant of the White House is bent on pushing massive tax cuts for the rich and packing the federal courts with judges who will chip away at affirmative action, anti-discrimination measures, environmental protections and a woman's right to choose.

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