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Letters to the editor

January 15, 2004

We cannot lose our local hospital


To the editor:

Our first hospital, at Fairground and Potomac Avenues about 1900, demonstrated the interest and foresight of that generation. It was a converted two-story house, which soon was too small. About 1920 saw the hospital moved to the empty Hagerstown Female Seminary at King and Baltimore streets, its present location. Public donations and taxpayers helped bring three major modifications and additions.

Washington County Hospital,with its own nurse's cap, annually graduated one class of efficient nurses trained by the medical professionals with whom they would work. The entire nursing staff, including the head nurse, lived on site.

The local hospital was not an entitlement, it was not a business, it was a necessity. Local governments contributed heavily to any budget deficit. The local medical professionals were the staff. The staff organized the nursing brigade and the administrative personnel. Being a local effort, all allowed exemptions were granted the hospital. Costs were reasonable and within the capability of local people.

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It was called the Washington County Hospital and operated by the Washington County Medical Society. Under that name and in the Depression, the hospital's affluence was demonstrated by lending money to (one-time Hagerstown Mayor) Herman Mills.

Following World War II, the hospital became a shell corporation operating upon profit or loss, much as a modern hotel; the departmental elements are subcontracted.

Surprisingly, triage is conducted by a technician, not a medical doctor. Some 200 volunteers are among the "hospital employees." At the working level, no persons think that moving the hospital will improve service. Separately questioned, the consensus is that only the management advocates moving the facility.

Considering the center of population density, and also the numbers of young and elderly residing within Hagerstown's limits, the movement of our hospital to any rural area would be "cutting off one's nose to spite his face." A hospital is people, not brick and mortar.

The loss of our hospital cannot be tolerated.

Joseph H. Walker
Hagerstown




Keep commandments in your heart always


To the editor:

It was with interest that I read James Kline's Jan. 1 letter to the editor concerning the Ten Commandments.

While I concur with Kline's statement that Jesus commanded us to love one another as he loved us, this command did not abolish or negate the Ten Commandments.

Our Lord himself stated in Matt. 5:17 that he came not to abolish the law or the prophets.

The first four of the Ten Commandments define our love responsibilities to our creator God.

The remaining six define our responsibility to love of those about us.

Christ's command to a subjugated people to love your enemies, pray for those that spitefully use you and to go the second mile was certainly new to an eye-for-an-eye and a tooth- for-a-tooth response to an injustice.

Yes, Jesus' life demonstrated and his teaching empathized to all mankind how to live the great principles of God's Ten Commandments.

When and if all people of all nations would allow our heavenly father to write his Ten Commandments law upon their hearts, then all lawlessness, violence and wars would no longer mar the earth.

Glenn Hykes
Greencastle, Pa.

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