LETTERS - Oct. 5

Posted: October 06, 2014

ISSUE | MED-MAL SUITS

Outdated 'script

Ten years ago, Pennsylvania's legislature and Supreme Court took responsible actions to reform the then-out-of-control system for trying claims of medical negligence ("Victims of medical negligence pay for reforms," Oct. 2). Those reforms included a requirement that lawyers have a case reviewed by a physician before bringing suit and that physicians only be sued in the county where the asserted medical negligence took place. These reforms have worked well to reduce frivolous claims and to limit forum-shopping.

Thus, it is disappointing that commentator Shanin Specter suggests that we roll back this substantial progress. His prescription: Step back in time and reinstate broken rules. But that would mean a return to a system that allows meritless claims to drive up costs for all of us and slow down the legal system for legitimate claims.

|Bruce A. MacLeod, M.D., president, Pennsylvania Medical Society, Harrisburg, stat@pamedsoc.org

ISSUE | CLIMATE

It's so over

The Inquirer is doing its readers a great disservice by giving climate deniers equal space in its Chirp column (Oct. 2). Printing points of view on your op-ed pages that "global warming is a myth" only further misinforms the public. The scientific debate about climate change is over: It's happening and it's caused by man. An accurate, fair, and balanced perspective would highlight the fact that the scientific community agrees warming isn't worth risking, period.

|Andrew E. Huemmler, senior lecturer, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

ISSUE | EBOLA IN AMERICA

Better to worry the public than risk spread

Many in the medical community are dismayed by the inadequate response of our government to the Ebola virus, notably the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: at first, slow to assist overseas, where everyone claims our best chance to halt the spread of the virus lies, and now here at home, where relying on scared, sick people to tell the truth in response to screening questions has neither stopped a sick person from bringing Ebola here nor stopped supposedly quarantined children from being sent to school. Without stronger steps, this could be President Obama's Hurricane Katrina.

Waiting for obvious symptoms in infected people will not stop the spread; it's simply not clear enough when they become infectious. We need a ban on international travel, a three-week quarantine of travelers returning from overseas or any at-risk individuals until it's clear that they are not infected, blood-testing of all suspected individuals, and possibly even a temporary restriction of travel within the United States until this crisis is over. If we don't take serious measures now, but instead bow to the pressure to avoid worrying the public or the financial markets, we could allow a disaster to happen.

|Brian Broker, M.D., Bryn Mawr

ISSUE | COP KILLER HONORED

Vermont college commencement out of step

Goddard College's choice of Mumia Abu-Jamal as a commencement speaker is just plain wrong ("Toomey: Cancel Mumia speech," Oct. 3). Timing is everything. In Pennsylvania, there is a manhunt for a man suspected of ambushing and killing a state trooper. I trust Goddard doesn't want to send the message that it is OK to kill a police officer.

|Susan E. Satkowski, Philadelphia

ISSUE | TOWN-GOWN RELATIONS

Students embrace neighborly responsibilities

As more students move near the North Philadelphia campus of Temple University, student government leaders and university police have been actively creating initiatives to further strengthen bonds in the community. The biggest initiative is the two-year-old Adopt-A-Block program, which kicked off again last weekend as students from more than 20 organizations came out on a Saturday to clean up the surrounding neighborhood. Each organization was assigned a block and pledged to clean it monthly.

Adopt-A-Block engages thousands of neighbors to help reduce litter, combat graffiti, and build community. But it also addresses a bigger issue: the relationship between Temple students and local residents. As a member of Temple student government, I know our team has been working extremely hard to strengthen this relationship. Students realize the importance of strong community ties, and we're focused on breaking the us-against-them attitude. We recognize that the local residents are our neighbors and we want to maintain their respect.

While cleaning up, it was gratifying to see my own neighbor come out and greet me. He was shocked that so many students were up so early on a Saturday and then offered us coffee. It is these kinds of ties that make the Adopt-A-Block program so worthwhile.

|Kelly Dougherty, Philadelphia

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