Medicine and humanity
Many of us who have worked within the medical industry for years unfortunately are not shocked by the issues of personality/political unrest amongst the practitioner teams [see "Tearing at Children's Heart," 11/30]. I myself recently had a surgery at the hands of a surgeon so devoid in communication skills as to have jeopardized my postoperative care, I believe—and I challenged him on it at the time. Medical schools need to be devoting more attention to the importance of interpersonal communications than they do, and at the same time back it up in terms of credentialing parameters not only for the skills of surgeons but their humanity.
The individual who started the anonymous letter-writing campaign to patients' parents was at one and the same time doing something both courageous and reckless, not to mention that was a serious breach of medical confidentiality in terms of contacting the parents of patients, apparently accessing the addresses from the medical records. There is no mention in the article of whether there were any medical record reforms at the institution as a result of these violations.
There is also no clear understanding of the timeline of the existence of the letters, and particularly whether they continued after the anesthesia department's biomedical equipment engineer was deemed to be in the hospital management's disfavor (though not clearly guilty) and ultimately left the organization in favor of employment elsewhere. The unmitigated support of his department, which lamented the loss of his skills and his dedication, leaves me concerned about the power of employers to engage in character assassination by implication.
Is it any wonder that "behind-the-scenes" hospital-based drama of TV shows such as ER and Gideon's Crossing is so riveting when real life medical care is fraught with difficulties equally as outrageous?
Accusations of trouble
While the Weekly has always a reputation for being somewhat sensational, your cover story titled "Tearing at Children's Heart" [11/30] may cause more harm for the cardiac families that you realize. Yes, there have been accusations of trouble at the Children's Heart Center over the past five years. Yes, there are tensions in the ICU, understandably in the place where children are fighting for their lives and many lose that fight. And there may well be conflicts between surgeons and staff and valid concerns that the hospital administration has been slow to act on. But to legitimize the anonymous letter-writing campaign of a disgruntled employee who has caused so much turmoil and damage to both a fine hospital and to grieving families is irresponsible.
Heart surgery is highly risky business but, rumors and the vaguely strung together allegations aside, the Seattle institution has one of the better track records in the country. I too grieve for the family who lost their son and it is indeed a tragedy for them. But at the same time I am outraged at this "anonymous" individual who has thrown salt on the wounds of grieving families because they have a beef with the head surgeon. It's destructive, not constructive, to anonymously raise doubts among the families of current and potential patients who are struggling to heal, all with the illegal use of those families' private contact information. That individual may fancy him/herself a crusader for right but their back door tactic of using families' emotions in the crusade is very wrong. And I am outraged that you have given that writer's efforts such prominent publicity.
When will the Weakly's anti-Nader bleating end? This most recent one, "The Nader of progress?" [11/30] by Nina Shapiro, is the last straw. Isn't she the one who wrote the "kinder, gentler Skeletor" piece a while back? I don't want to hear one more nasal chorus of "Nader ruined the election for our Al Gore! Whah!" As Michael Moore likes to say, "Bush and Gore made me wanna Ralph"—and I did. But fence-sitting, crybaby, Political Coward "Liberals" make me want to vomit. Don't you understand what is happening? The Greens are not Democrats. We are moving beyond the tired stereotypes "conservative"and "liberal." Try to think outside the cubicle and get this through your heads: We are not with you. Al Gore is not entitled to anyone's vote. As a Nader voter, I am one of 3,000,000 Americans who are actually satisfied with our vote. The Greens are the only viable progressive party available. Globalization is for civilization, not just corporate trade. Unlike your two-headed plutocracy, the Greens are a global movement united around the idea of global citizenship, and that is simply the next logical step in human evolution. Won't you join us?
Also, try a little fact-checking before you go to print. Nader's "giant corporation disguised as a presidential candidate" quote was for Bush, not Gore. Even better, try this Nader gem: "The only difference between Bush and Gore is the relative velocity with which their knees hit the floor whenever Big Business walks through the door."
And quit reporting about the Dumbocrats "hurt feelings" as though it were news, because nobody cares.
Idiots & their civil rights
I so agree with Mr. Karasick [Letters, 11/30]. As a Seattle native (born and raised), we have SO much in our beautiful city to be proud of. I had nothing to do with the protesters whatsoever, but because of them, I was forced to take an EXTRA TWO HOURS, both to and from work on the bus. And these idiots are complaining as "THEIR" civil rights were violated. BIG DEAL!!! When your right to free speech and march and all that infringes on MY right to get to and from work, unimpeded, you ARE breaking the law. I was also injured by the SPD, and spoke at the second public hearing in the Seattle Center, and I was not even a protester. I was blasted by the cops, trying to get home from a doctor's appointment on Capitol Hill. As I had zero witnesses (at least none who would give me a name), the city of Seattle denied my claim. And as I had no insurance, I now have a lifelong scar, left by the cops.
As for Kirkpatrick [Letters, 11/30] (and I will not even stoop to add the "Mr." there), do you have a job, Kirkpatrick? Or do you exist off of taxpayers dollars (welfare or Social Security disability), just so you can put a mask on your face (to hide so you can't be identified and because you are a coward) while you are running around nice cities, smashing windows and spraying graffiti slogans. Anarchy, my tail end . . . you just get a thrill out of breaking stuff and running away. Were you beaten as a child or what?
Morally vacant fellows
I read "How to Put More Dot-Coms Out of Business" [Gift Guide #2, 11/30] in full hoping to find the hidden humor to prove this was all a put-on, but it was not there. You fellows (Mark D. Fefer and Brian Miller) appear to be morally vacant individuals.
I sure never get that warm and fuzzy feeling when thinking about the stereotypical upscale yuppie scum dot-com executive, so I might be among that last to ever defend what you call "vainglorious young dot-commers," but what you advocate is unsound, immoral, and stupid. First of all, for every one of your villains there are sometimes hundreds of regular people, working regular jobs—just like you (maybe not). Those dot-commers will land on their feet—somehow they always do. The regular folk (most of the employees) will get screwed. You boys would have been perfect recruits for Nixon's Committee to Reelect the President—CREEP. The "missing sanity" in your life is your issue, and not the fault of dot-commers you despise. The success or failure of these businesses, like any business, should hinge, and it almost always does, on much of the basic economic factors referred to as "the Market." Bad ideas usually end up as bad ideas and fall of their own weight. The help you suggest the community provide is superfluous. It seems like the Seattle Weekly needs to take another look to be sure that they continue to "add value" to the community. In this case you do not.
Pass the wine
A friend showed me the column in a recent Weekly that described Portteus wines as unpredictable and generally slammed the wines (and winemaker) [The Vine Print, 11/23]. I do not profess to be a wine critic, but I think you were way off base on this one.
I was introduced to Portteus wines about six years ago and have made it a point to make regular pilgrimages there ever since. I have found Portteus wines to be some of the most consistent, full bodied, rich, and diverse wines I have had from Washington. Moreover, Portteus wines are the ones I cellar to have for special occasions, with confidence they will age well.
I decided to look at the Portteus Web site to see what it says about awards. I had seen many in his tasting room, so it was no surprise to me that Portteus had received many awards. For example, the 1997 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon won the Andy Markin Award for best CS, which seems as though it is very prestigious.
I think you do your readers a great disservice to pan this wine. I have recommended Portteus to any number of my friends and have taken the wines to a number of special occasions and the wines have always been a big hit.
Letter o' the week
Boy, are you guys Gore-ass-kissing and Nader-bashing! Ever since your election issue, where 90 percent of your voting suggestions were Democratic, you guys [have] disgusted me with your utter bias. In your latest issue [11/30], Krugman and Cohen's Culture Bunker? Please. That last comment, "that fucking Ralph Nader cost Gore the election," are you all so blind or one-sided? Gore is simply a scum-bag. He'll say anything to get elected, and for those of you with a short memory, his skanky wife, Tipper, headed the most Nazi censorship organization of the '80s, the PMRC, which hounded a multitude of musical acts, putting them on trial in Congress over the grilling coals of the religious right. So does the Culture Bunker want such an advocate of freedom as Gore to be president?
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