King/Drew: Second Opinions and More


Re “The Troubles at King/Drew -- Underfunding is a myth, but the squandering is real,” Dec. 6: It is clear that the one thing King/Drew Medical Center lacks is a leader with vision. This institution began with hope and lost it in the mire of petty politics. What you are describing in your powerful, in-depth article is an organization that reflects its leadership: uncaring, unfocused and self-centered. If half the energy used to deflect criticism was put into self-reflection, King/Drew could begin to turn around in an instant.

Thomas Voccola

Thousand Oaks


The reports of monstrous negligence at King/Drew Medical Center are horrifying. How has this inexcusable mess been allowed to continue for so long? If the county Board of Supervisors will not do anything, the state government should step in. Obviously that area needs a hospital, but there should be an immediate appointment of outside, neutral administrators with considerable discretion to hire and fire. That hospital needs a severe purge of employees -- from its overpaid doctors who don’t do anything to the hooky-playing nursing and clerical workers who file insurance claims every time they try to sit and miss the chair.

How anyone could defend the hospital in its present state is beyond my comprehension.


Amitai Adler

Los Angeles


In calculating the efficiency of California’s county hospitals, we need to take into account not only the money allotted by the county but the ability of each county hospital to attract private-pay patients and patients with remunerative diseases. Patients who offer hospitals profitable remuneration are the elective-surgery patients and others who are undergoing elective procedures.

The less-well-paying patients are the chronically ill and emergency room patients. If the King/Drew center is treating mainly trauma, diabetes and heart failure while the other county hospitals are attracting elective-procedure patients, King/Drew will always be underfunded even if they eliminate high salaries for doctors and workers’ compensation abuses.

Christopher M. Jobe MD



One may be forgiven for having had faint hopes over the last several years that our victim mentality would be ending. As with the average American voter, the citizens of the King/Drew neighborhood refuse to let the facts get in the way of illusion -- an illusion punctured quite well in recent Times reports. It seems easier for many to blame racism than to point a finger at an almost inconceivable incompetence and worse from many of those concerned. It’s time for the more clear-sighted in the city to speak out.

Ron DiCostanzo

Santa Monica


It occurred to me that if King/Drew were my community hospital in my backyard, I would be fighting too. But I would be fighting for fiscal responsibility, integrity of leadership and quality healthcare. I would not be fighting to keep the doors of an obviously troubled institution open so that more innocent people can fall victim to the hospital’s systemic failures.

Paul Eltz

South Pasadena


No matter what Dr. Jonathan Heard has done wrong in his years at King/Drew, he saved my life in 1993. I was involved in a bad traffic accident and given little chance to survive. Thanks to the quick response by the paramedics of L.A. Fire Department Station 100 and the efforts of Heard and the staff at the Northridge Hospital trauma center, I lived. My ex-wife said if she would have known of his problems at the time she would have watched my treatment closer. But he did save my life and I thank him for that.

Robert D. Hartzfeld

Van Nuys


The concluding words of the Dec. 5 King/Drew editorial, though inaccurate, clearly convey The Times’ bias. You say, “The only form of justice it (King hospital) provides is a parody of justice: the right of black people to die in a black hospital.”

This is both insulting and reprehensible. Also, King is a county hospital, not a black hospital, but, significantly, editorial hubris prevailed. The Times’ bias is infectious and will surely contaminate the King/Drew series.

Larry Aubry



Great work on the King/Drew report! It would be great to see the same focus on the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Francis A. Rose

Culver City