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Letters to the editor 8/20/02

August 20, 2002

News stories are based entirely on wrong information



To the editor:


Speaking on my own behalf, the surgeons of Washington County Hospital who have participated in the trauma program in that institution continue to hope for a return of trauma services to Washington County very soon. We never wanted an interruption in providing those services. Within that context, we have quietly negotiated with hospital officials to resolve the many issues (of which many are non-monetary) to restore the trauma center. While the hospital has chosen to sling mud in the press, we have remained at work to resolve the problems without fanfare.

I have been reading with great interest over the past few months, articles in this newspaper about the trauma issue. I have been disturbed by the many inaccuracies in most of the articles, but now an article has been published which demands response.

The front-page article in The Morning Herald on Aug. 9, titled "Doctors criticized in trauma troubles" penned by Laura Ernde, requires comment. To date, it is the most irresponsible reporting on the trauma issue that has been published. In essence, this report takes the emotional remarks made by state police officials (who have no direct knowledge of the issues, problems or negotiations) and creates front page news blaming the physicians for the problems.

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They also implied that the treatment delays in the unfortunate accident to Mr. Fishell were because of the lack of a trauma program in Washington County. To clear the air on this point, the emergency department encouraged field EMS personnel to bring him to Washington County Hospital, and it was the providers in the field who chose to bypass that option. This was confirmed by the audiotapes released last week, prior to this newspaper report.

In essence, Mr. Mitchell and Mr. Lewis made very appropriate comments from their points of view. The problem is, they do not know the facts. Therefore, their comments would make an appropriate letter in a "To the Editor" column. But it is not news. Elevating it to news is grossly irresponsible on the part of The Morning Herald because it elevates uninformed opinion and misrepresents it as fact - as news. Similarly, my opinions are not news, and also belong on the op-ed page, not the front page. I believe that as a news-gathering organization, the newspaper is charged with the task of gathering and reporting news - not creating it.

I will still leave the negotiations to solve the problems of the trauma program in the board room where they belong. I believe we are close to settling this mediation process. When the problems are solved and reported, that will be news. I hope we will soon be providing trauma coverage to our community - a service we all believe our citizens deserve.

Daniel J. Weinberg, M.D., F.A.C.S.

Chairman, Division of General Surgery

Washington County Hospital

Hagerstown




What are voucher foes afraid of?



To the editor:


The following organizations don't want vouchers for education:

The American Civil Liberties Union

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

The National Education Association

The Interfaith Association

Why? What are these people afraid of? The truth?

Are these people afraid that the American people will learn that the pubic school systems are nothing but a money grabbing bunch of frauds, who delight in dumbing down children?

Think about it: Are 10 percent of American children really disabled enough to require special education funds or is the public school system just padding its pockets?

Our son couldn't read at the beginning of the sixth grade in spite of all the special education help he got in three years, yet in 14 hours at the Sylvan learning center, he was reading at grade level and soon after that he could read better than most of his classmates.

The nice people at Sylvan volunteered to help at his school but were turned down by school staff, why?

David L. Perry

Bloomery, W.Va.

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