Saturday Mailbox


August 28, 2004

'Quickie clinics' will not provide continuous care

The Sun has reported on Target stores' intention to provide "MinuteClinics" in some of its Baltimore-area sites ("Quickie clinics," editorial, Aug. 16, and "Selling quick fix for minor ailments," Aug. 8).

The clinics' intention is to provide consumers with the diagnostic services of a nurse practitioner for minor ailments and immunizations. But the pediatricians of the Maryland chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics feel very strongly that such a venture is not in the best interest of the children in our state.

The keystone of appropriate medical care for every child is a medical home. A youngster's family should establish a continuous relationship with one physician or nurse practitioner who will become familiar with the child's medical history and development and provide continuing care.

Knowing this history allows the primary care provider to make sensible medical decisions and support the family.

When parents bring a child to his or her doctor for an illness, a history is taken, the child is examined and treated, and the family is supported through the illness.

It is in the child's best interest to be seen and followed sequentially for a problem in the same clinic or office. There is no substitute for the same pair of eyes and ears evaluating a child for a problem over time.

Employers and insurance companies must understand the critical need for families to see a child's primary care provider for continuous care.

A MinuteClinic will most certainly prove to be a false economy if children are not treated and followed in a continuous manner.

Dr. Daniel Levy Dr. Richard Lichtenstein Baltimore

The writers are, respectively, the president and president-elect of the Maryland chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

St. Paul St. holdouts seek way too much

Unlike the article "On St. Paul Street, holding his ground" (Aug. 19) on the College Town development for the 3200 block of St. Paul Street, which has major community support, the follow-up article of the following day included no comments from the community in response to Ann Hurlock's contentions regarding the purchase of her propertyat 3 East 33rd Street ("Charles Village project faces new hurdle," Aug. 20).

But her property is essential for the mixed-use development on the west side of the 3200 block, which includes a public parking garage.

Ms. Hurlock, like Daniel F. Jackson Jr. on the east side of the street, is holding out for a sale price way beyond rational expectation for return on an investment that has earned decades of rental income.

Rather than cooperate for this long-awaited development adjacent to the Johns Hopkins Homewood campus, these two property owners are seeking sympathy that's hard to abide.

Ask yourself why 24 other property owners in that block reached settlements for the two projects to move forward as envisioned through an extensive community planning process, and these two business property owners cannot.

It's rather hard to take.

Sandy Sparks


The writer chairs the design review committee of the Charles Village Civic Association.

Vietnam not issue for 2004 election

After reading "Kerry backers defend war record" (Aug. 21), I have to wonder what has happened to the issues of the 2004 presidential campaign.

Today, the issue is not Vietnam. The issue is Iraq. The voters have to concern themselves with President Bush, who misled the American people, Congress and the United Nations in taking America to war.

This election is about a president who masqueraded in a pilot costume, landed on an aircraft carrier and led us to believe it was "Mission Accomplished."

Since that day he so brazenly declared victory, nearly 1,000 young Americans have lost their lives, thousands of other Americans have been maimed for life and countless others, including soldiers from our allies, have been killed and maimed. And there is no end in sight.

Voters need to decide whether we want a president who rushed into war without an exit plan, only to find the man we were told had so many weapons of mass destruction hiding in a hole with one handgun.

The campaign in 2004 is about a president who has to obfuscate the real issues in the hope that the electorate is gullible enough to be misled again.

Evelyn Burns


Kerry's criticism hurt POWs, veterans

John Kerry's accusing President Bush of conspiring with the Swift boat veterans is preposterous ("Kerry's Vietnam service record remains hot topic," Aug. 23).

I am married to a Vietnam War veteran, and I know these veterans don't need the endorsement of the White House or anyone else.

It is a well-known fact that when John Kerry went before Congress with his alleged war crimes stories, he not only helped the cause of the North Vietnamese government, but he also put the lives of countless POWs at risk.

I believe that Mr. Kerry is an opportunist. Long before he returned from his tour of duty in Vietnam, he aspired to be a politician. His dramatic performance before Congress launched that career.

My husband served his country. He was stationed in Germany, but volunteered to go to Vietnam. He speaks often to me about the war. He, like most Vietnam War veterans, felt that the worst part of the war was coming home to a country that didn't want him. Veterans were spat on and called "baby killers" and worse, and they felt that their duty had been all in vain.

They feel they did not lose the war in Vietnam. They fought gallantly and won every major battle, but the war was lost in Washington.

Geri Ungurean


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