Letters To The Editor


January 16, 2004

Existing limits on angioplasties protect patients

Doctors, health professionals and hospital administrators who argue that medical centers not currently licensed to perform heart surgery should be allowed to perform angioplasties are once again putting the almighty dollar ahead of patients' well-being ("Money is a pervasive presence in arguments over angioplasties," Jan. 9).

There can be no dispute that thousands of patients across Maryland have been saved and the quality of their lives improved because of successful angioplasties. But except in emergencies, these procedures have been performed in state-licensed facilities qualified to perform cardiac surgery. This is because of the small percentage of cases in which the procedure fails, resulting in a ruptured artery.

The fact that ruptured arteries occur is an undisputed fact, as I can attest from my own experience of five years ago.

Had it not been for the highly skilled surgeons at Johns Hopkins Hospital who were able to move me into surgery within 15 minutes to perform a heart bypass, I would have been one of those statistics that lobbyists and health administrators supporting the use of angioplasties in hospitals that are not licensed to perform cardiac surgery are now trying to downplay.

Perhaps more licensed cardiac centers that could generate the fees hospitals so desperately need would be the right answer, rather than placing more patients at risk.

Stuart G. Breslow


Will foes of slots pay for tax hikes?

As the General Assembly convenes, once again slot machines will be on the table ("State deficit tops Ehrlich's agenda," Jan. 14). But I'm sure those who oppose slots, House Speaker Michael E. Busch in particular, will defeat them once again.

I'm not saying having slots would fix all of Maryland's financial woes. But for those of us who would rather have slots than increased taxes, maybe Mr. Busch and the rest of those who oppose this source of revenue could post their addresses somewhere public. That way, the rest of us would know where to send our increased tax bills, which I'm sure they will be more than happy to pay.

Deborah Fritz

Bel Air

Where's the outcry over lies about Iraq?

The findings by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace are indeed significant ("Challenging the case for war," Jan. 12). They show us that this administration manipulated public opinion in the United States by misinterpreting available intelligence.

Former President Bill Clinton lied to the American people in the infamous Monica Lewinsky case, which did not lead us into a war that cost human lives. Where is the uproar about us being misled by this administration into a war?

Are we as a nation more perturbed about a president's misbehavior in sexual matters than a president's misleading the nation in such grave matters as war and peace?

Armin Mruck


Moon mission meant to distract the public

President Bush's advocacy of a new man-to-the-moon program is a costly Wag the Dog scenario ("A step back to the moon, a giant debate for America," Jan. 10).

It is intended to deflect our attention from an unnecessary war with disastrous results (a continuing loss of life and fortune, friends and ex-allies); tax cuts that only aid the rich, impoverish the states and put our future in debt; an attempt to privatize Medicare and Social Security; the undoing of our environmental safeguards and the ruination of our national parks and reserves, not to mention the ignoring of global warming; and the stacking of the government with ex-corporate lobbyists.

America, you are being "mooned."

Robert E. MacDonald


Focus on problems right here on Earth

President Bush should swing his telescope away from the moon and Mars and focus it on Afghanistan and the mess in Iraq. Then he should look at our national debt, which is plummeting deeper than any crater on the moon.

Soon Mr. Bush will ask us to waste untold billions of dollars that we don't have on this high-profile, low-payback science boondoggle. This money and effort would be better directed to finding a cure for cancer or AIDS or to stem cell research.

U.S. Treasury Secretary John W. Snow said that the space plans would be undertaken "within a framework of fiscal responsibility" ("Bush sees moon as jump-off point," Jan. 12). I say, if you put your lost tooth under the pillow at night, the tooth fairy will reward you in the morning.

Gordon Horak


ICC cannot aid the environment

Stephen Kiehl's article about the Intercounty Connector (ICC) includes some incredible and duplicitous quotes by the governor and misses an opportunity to remind readers why the ICC is still such a bad idea ("Ehrlich leads officials on tour of ICC routes," Jan. 7).

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. argues that, if done right, the highway will improve the environment. Come again? Dynamite and asphalt and decimated forests are not earth-friendly, no matter what stilts the promoters would like to stand the highway on.

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