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Letters to the Editor 5/13

May 13, 2002

Celebrating hospital week


To the editor:

Each year during the second week in May, City Hospital joins hospitals nationwide in celebrating National Hospital Week. Following our celebration of National Doctors' Day in March, National Volunteer Week in April, and National Nurses' Week the first week in May, National Hospital Week gives us the opportunity to recognize all of our dedicated health professionals who work hard at making our hospitals and health systems open to their communities 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

The theme for this year's May 12 to 18 National Hospital Week celebration is "Where Miracles Happen Every Day." Working in the health care setting, we witness these miracles every day medicines that foster faster recoveries, technologies that achieve incredible results, patients who show remarkable strength and courage, and tiny young lives just entering our world. In our industry, miracles happen every day and we should consider ourselves fortunate to be an integral part of these miraculous experiences.

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There are few fields as challenging as health care and certainly none as rewarding. On behalf of the City Hospital Board of Trustees and Administration, I want to express our appreciation to our "team" of health professionals here at City Hospital. As you may recall, many of our care teams were featured in newspaper, radio and TV ads that we placed in the local media during 2001. The teams highlighted in these ads were all hospital departments or units that were specifically mentioned in testimonials that we received from our patients here at City Hospital. As evidenced by these testimonials, this hard work and dedication inspires confidence among our patients and, in turn, promotes a sense of pride and well-being in our community.

For 80 years, hospitals across the country have joined together for one week each May to celebrate their strengths and to strengthen their commitment to excellence. Today, the event continues to provide a positive spotlight for the work of our dedicated health professionals, who work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year to make those miracles happen every day. During National Hospital Week, May 12 to 18, remember the dedication of your community's health care workers and join us in celebrating the miracle of care.

Jon D. Applebaum

Chief Executive Officer

City Hospital

Martinsburg, W.Va.

Prisoners need better drug treatment


To the editor:

Drug-dependent individuals are responsible for a disproportionate percentage of the nation's crime. According to the drug and crime data, between one half and three quarters of all arrestees tested in 23 cities around the country had drugs in their system at the time of arrest.

Imprisoning an addict costs more than $25,000 a year. By comparison, outpatient treatment costs less than $5,000 a year and residential treatment ranges between $5,000 and $15,000 annually.

Corrections and treatment professions must join in common purpose to break this cycle by reducing recidivism among individuals in the criminal justice system. Treatment must be made more available for drug-dependent inmates, incarcerating offenders without treating the underlying substance abuse problems simply defers the time when they are released back into the communities to start harming themselves with substances.

Example: A prison inmate with a substance abuse problem serves a seven-year prison term, with little to no treatment, then gets released, and in two weeks is found dead from a drug overdose (true story).

Sixty and 75 percent of untreated parolees with histories of cocaine/heroin use reportedly return to these drugs within three months of release. Inmates need alternatives to prison sentences, or assessments, supervision and rehabilitation with a structured transition back into the mainstream of the community. Prison inmates are given very little rehabilitation. The fact is, prison's only really offer AA/NA programs. Inmates need a more structured treatment program.

Kevin W. Ward

No. 300715

Maryland Correctional Institution

Hagerstown

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