It saddens me to see how much trouble St. Joseph Medical Center has been in recently ("Midei case leaves future unclear for St. Joseph Medical Center," Dec. 29). Some of it surely was due to mismanagement.

But as a patient, I would like to share what St. Joseph's means to the patients and their families. When you are really in trouble physically — in my case, Stage III esophageal cancer — you want the top doctors and a caring staff that feels like family.

I have seen a close friend battle Stage IV lung cancer, and she is still here thanks to the excellent care she received from doctors at the facility. That was my reason for choosing St. Joseph's Cancer Institute. The doctors and staff are excellent, and I felt I was in good hands.

I had been a contractual worker for Mid-Atlantic Cardiovascular Associates for years. I did not have contact with Dr. Mark Midei, but I did work for another cardiologist, who is one of the finest physicians around.

There were many doctors like that at Mid Atlantic. They don't make the news, but they save lives and people know how good they are. That is one reason so many people come to St. Joseph's.

It is a community hospital, and we feel like it is a safe place. During my extended hospital stays, that meant my family could park safely and not worry about being mugged or carjacked.

My hope is that another good hospital will realize this and partner with St. Joseph. If the hospital closed it would be a tremendous loss to our community and to patients like myself who found hope and survival there.

Donna Nesbitt, Baltimore