In response to “Non-Traditional Medicine OKd by Health Plan,” Sept. 5:
I wish to make some corrections to the article printed toward understanding the role of podiatrists and the health care system today. First, with regard to less traditional healers, podiatrists have been traditional healers in this society for a hundred years now. Podiatrists can and do utilize all the diagnostic methods, the unlimited scope of prescription writing, and have the ability and expertise to utilize surgical intervention in the lower extremity; physical therapy and injection therapy are also utilized as well as MRIs, CAT scans and X-rays.
With regard to who will provide treatment for various medical conditions, podiatrists do not fit into the same categories as the other specialist groups that you mentioned. The reason for this is that podiatrists practice allopathic medicine, which is the identical medicine practiced by MDs. With regard to foot care, very few orthopedists specialize in foot care. The only recognized expert in this area is a podiatrist. Podiatrists do not offer an alternate method of treatment such as acupuncture but we offer the same type of treatment, however, with a greater expertise since this is the entirety of our practice and this is what we do on a daily basis, and are expressly trained to diagnose and treat foot problems.
If podiatrists are omitted from the health plans, the general public would be denied the best possible foot care. In addition, it has been repeatedly proven that podiatrists perform these services on the most cost-efficient basis.
THOMAS NEUMAN DPM
President, Los Angeles County
Podiatric Medical Society
Regarding President Clinton’s health care reform package (Sept. 9):
The intention of large malpractice awards is to punish inept health care “professionals” and compensate those who fall victim. It might be in the interest of the public to cap these awards if there were established with the same act a genuine system to decertify incompetent practitioners.
Gore on Reinventing Government
* In response to “Gore’s Reinvented Government Aims to Slash Red Tape,” Sept. 8:
Vice President Al Gore may not be the right person to reform and reinvent an efficient government, but a great beginning would be the reformation of his own office of vice president.
My brother sent Gore a short note commenting on subjects cogent to a more efficient government. A short while later he received a reply; the next day another; and the following day another. Three replies to a single letter. Let’s hope and pray the reinvented government doesn’t become as efficient as Vice President Gore’s staff.
FRANK R. SESTANOVICH
The part of the budget that goes for administrative overhead--non-defense salary, wages, benefits, rent, utilities, supplies and other miscellaneous expenses--amounts to about 5% of the budget. The bulk of the remaining outlays are for defense, direct giveaways to individuals and interest on the national debt.
Accordingly, even if that budget item is reduced by half pursuant to Gore’s initiative, it won’t make much of a dent in the deficit.
What needs to be done is not a mere increase in government efficiency but, rather, a dramatic reduction in the scope of the involvement of the federal government in the lives of the American people. We simply have too big of a federal government that does too much--much of it in excess of the Constitution’s mandate--duplicating the role of state and local government and consuming massive amounts of the people’s money in the process. If it exists, the feds regulate it.
Gore needs to use a meat cleaver, not an oil can, in order to really redefine government.
ROBERT J. DURIO
Playa del Rey
Gore gave a poignant speech on government waste Sept. 7.
Not only did we taxpayers foot the bill for weighing certain government documents, but we paid for loading two forklifts, and moving them onto the White House lawn. I think maybe we found some more waste that could be eliminated.
What does the highly touted National Performance Review (reinventing government) say about wasting time?
Millions of people waited 13 minutes for the blockbuster, forklift-assisted announcement by the highest level of government.
In their rush to change Washington, Clinton Administration officials have shown little understanding of how our government operates. Their many errors in judgment so far do not bode well for their plan to reinvent government. Grandstanding their new ideas does not replace what is necessary to make them good ideas.
Lest they forget--real change is good only when led with wisdom and experience.
Help From Bystanders
* I was driving home from work on the San Diego Freeway during rush-hour traffic. A cement screw was shot into a tire on my car, causing a complete blowout. Somehow I managed to get off onto the right shoulder unscathed between Sherman Way and Roscoe near a call box that was out of order.
Frustration, anger, anxiety, stress and concern gripped me as traffic continued to whiz by. After about 10 minutes, a small pickup truck stopped and a very pleasant young teen-ager came to my rescue. He offered help and changed the tire. He put the tools back into place in the trunk and I thanked him profusely and offered him money for his efforts, which he refused, saying that he hoped that someone would stop and help his mother if she were in like circumstances. I asked him his name. He said it was Martin. Realizing he genuinely wanted this act of kindness to remain just that, I did not question him further.
For all the Martins in the world who are the positive entities of society and who do not rate any media recognition, I give praise and thanks because bleak as our future appears, there is still caring and goodness out there that should be recognized.
* Labor Day weekend. I looked forward to some time working in the garden and reading. I went to the drugstore down the street. Our drug store is open 24 hours. The entrance is in the back by the parking lot. There is a post office across the street and there are many people about.
Sitting in a wheelchair by the door to the store was a black woman about 40 years of age, looking quite ill. She told me she had been there all night. Her electric wheelchair had broken down the night before as she tried to catch the last bus home to Inglewood. A street person had wheeled her as best he could, for the chair was very heavy and the wheels were torqued, to the store’s entrance, hoping that someone could come to the aid of this woman, Luann.
Well, no one helped . . . nothing . . . nada . I got her something to drink and a sandwich and borrowed a screwdriver from the drugstore to try to fix the chair. It was beyond repair. Then, using the phone at the store, I called the following for help: the Police Department, the Fire Department, the paramedics, various cab companies. Nothing. They would not come to help this woman. There was no one at the place she lived to come and get her. A dear, frail, elderly black man needed to get some medicine to his wife, but said he’d come back. In the meantime, I called the Red Cross and was assured that someone would come to help . . . she was going to call the police. The police never arrived. The elderly gentleman came back and looked in the phone directory for a wheelchair repair shop.
Ernie arrived 10 minutes after the call. He told us that he would either repair or get a new chair for Luann and would give her a loaner, and if we could help lift her into the truck he would drive her home.
Why am I writing this? I am thankful that there was a happy ending to this little slice of life. But hundreds of people went past Luann. I can only hope and pray that people come out of themselves and look around and see all the needless suffering surrounding us. This woman was not a threat. Here was someone who needed help. If we are to teach the children, isn’t it time we took a refresher course ourselves? A single life must mean something once again. If not, we are doomed.
* Orange County is the Jurassic Park of California politics. Most of the dinosaurs are there.