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Letters to the editor

December 22, 1997

Letters to the editor

Caring for kids makes a lasting difference

To the editor:

November was National Adoption Awareness Month. It's time to acknowledge and celebrate all those people who have chosen to enlarge their families through adoption, opening their hearts and homes to children in need of families. I especially wish to say thank you to those families who have adopted children through the Foster Care Program of the Washington County Department of Social Services.

Children enter the foster care system as the result of abuse or neglect. Each year the foster care caseload grows larger. For at least one in five of these children, return home or to the home of relatives turns out to be impossible. Their only hope for a permanent family is through adoption.

More often than not these children have special needs. They may be older. They could be part of a sibling group that should grow up together. They may have emotional, physical, or developmental problems. They may be from a minority race or ethnic background.

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In Washington County, foster and adoptive parents are trained and licensed by the Washington County Department of Social Services. Persons willing to adopt children with special needs can be matched with waiting children from anywhere in the state of Maryland. Financial subsidies are available to help offset the costs of caring for a special needs child. For more information about waiting children or the home study process, interested persons call 301-791-4030.

For all those who have adopted or are thinking about adoption, copy this quotation down and post it in a place where you will see it everyday. "A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove... but the world may be different because I was important to in the life of a child."

Ingrid Backman

Program Manager

Foster Care and Adoption

Washington County D.S.S.

A memorable evening

To the editor:

Sunday evening, November 16, at Robinwood Medical Center was an evening we won't forget.

All joint-replacement patients and their families and guests were invited to an open house to celebrate anniversaries of their joint replacements.

Doctors Altizer, Salvangno and staff are usually seen for treatment. This "treatment" was the doctors and staff walking around, shaking hands, with pats on the back and picture taking, etc.

A large crowd of patients and families saw these compassionate and talented doctors in a different setting.

This was a catered affair, with a live band, door prizes, food and drink of the highest caliber. This night was real.

My husband, Ralph Sr., celebrated a 22-year anniversary of an ankle replacement and a one-year complete knee replacement. Both were done by Dr. Tom Altizer.

The medical world can be feared, but when you see the outcome of hundreds of patients now able to motivate again its a miracle. It's all due to the talent and skill of these two doctors and their staff.

I know I speak for my husband and myself and the other hundreds of joint replacement patients when we say thank you, Doctors Altizer, Salvagno, and staff.

Dawn Socks

Hagerstown

Western Maryland care is the best

To the editor:

On the last Thursday of November each year, we take time-out to give thanks for all our many blessings. We traditionally spend time with our families and friends in a national homecoming gala that kicks off the holiday season.

This year my Thanksgiving came a day early here at Western Maryland Center. We all have a lot to be thankful for, but I witnessed, up close and personal, the greatest blessing of this or any year. WMC, in its 40th year, is blessed with some of the most skilled and qualified caregivers you could ever hope to find.

On Thanksgiving Eve, WMC's Two West, was truly hopping and "Murphy's Law" was truly evident as three ventilator patients all experienced severe health problems that dictated that they be transferred to the Washington County Hospital for emergency treatment. One of the patients had his airway close.

As a patient, I know we're sometimes critical of our caregivers, but Nov. 26, was a night that I'll always remember. When the airway problem was called, it was like a well oiled machine. There was Hubert "Barney" Barnes and Pat Hayes from respiratory, Debbie Keefer from nursing, and Nancy Hockman, the nursing supervisor, working feverishly over the patient. It was like watching the best-scripted episode of ER. Their teamwork and professionalism is something we all strive for, but very seldom see in action. They were truly magnificent.

When I went to bed that Wednesday evening, and I looked across the room at the empty bed where my roomy had been a few hours before, I thanked the good Lord for taking care of us and for giving us a facility like the Western Maryland Center and of course, a special thanks to a team with the names of Barney, Debbie, Pat, and Nancy.

We have a lot to be thankful for.

N. Linn Hendershot

Patient, WMC

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