Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor on doctor training, prosecuting mothers, voter ID

Hope for future of health care?

One finds hope in an article on a new model for rural medicine (April 29 Eagle).

Most are vaguely aware that what was known as private practice is on its deathbed. There are now two styles of practice – totally inpatient care in the hands of hospitalists and totally outpatient care. Medical education is increasingly focused on hospital-based care.

Doctors such as Daniel Shuman who serve those in impoverished Third World lands must depend on themselves and their clinical skill to diagnose and treat their patients. They cannot ship the medical puzzle off to a hospitalist whose skills are unknown and trust that this remote second person will provide care expeditiously and at the lowest cost.

Shuman also has to deal with illnesses that are not expected in western Kansas but were briefly covered long ago in medical school.

The two systems of practice are popular because the practitioner has more free time. However, this style of medical practice makes it difficult to see the big picture and limits the gratification available to those in practice several decades ago.

The applications for medical school are dropping. Perhaps innovative experiments such as that described in Ashland will rekindle the interest in medicine in those completing their bachelor’s degrees. Let us hope so for the future of health care.

RICHARD GILMARTIN

Wichita

Don’t prosecute

Regarding “Go after mothers” (May 9 Letters to the Editor): Pregnant women have indeed been arrested and charged with child abuse or some other crime because they continued a pregnancy to term in spite of a drug problem. However, prosecution and incarceration are not the answer.

Prosecutions don’t actually protect children. And because the only way a woman who has a drug problem can be sure to avoid arrest is to have an abortion, no state legislature has passed a law making it a crime for a woman with a drug problem to continue her pregnancy to term and give birth.

Further, being an addict is not a crime. Nor is being pregnant. Both are statuses, neither illegal. Making a pregnant woman a criminal – making a status a criminal act, through prosecution for drug use – is unequal treatment under the law.

Women in these circumstances need better access to health care, without fear of incarceration or punishment.

The threat of incarceration will only scare women away from seeking care. This result neither helps the mother recover nor “protects the baby” as intended by those in support of such legislation.

JULIE A. BURKHART

Executive director

Trust Women

Wichita

Require voter ID

Why shouldn’t voters be required to have proper and legal identification?

Identification theft and ID fraud are on the rise, as are credit-card scams, check-writing scams and other manners of fraudulent activity. Should we take the right of voting any less seriously than we take other crimes?

A photo ID has been required for such things as writing checks and using a credit card for years. So why has the liberal sector of our great nation decided it would be an imposition, even a burden, for legal individuals to obtain and carry a photo ID?

I believe a legal photo identification should be required for voting, signing up for any assistance (unemployment, welfare, food stamps, etc.), and any other activity that is related to our government and the assistance available to legal citizens. So, yes, I am against illegal invaders being issued driver’s licenses and receiving any form of government-supplied benefits.

I am quite adamant about the fact that I want the rights I have as a legal citizen protected. If that means placing an imposition on people who deem it a hardship to obtain and be able to produce some sort of record of their legitimacy in our country, then so be it.

TIMOTHY J. EWERTZ

Colwich

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