The Baltimore Sun

Medevac missions well worth the risk

As a 33-year veteran of the fire service and a licensed Maryland paramedic, I can personally attest to instances of lives saved by advanced life-support air medical transport ("Advantages of medevac transport challenged," Oct. 5).

While there are documented cases of patients being re-triaged upon arrival at Shock Trauma or one of our many associated specialty referral centers, the benefits of these missions greatly outweigh the risks.

When you compare the air miles and hours of completed transportation missions with the number of tragedies that have befallen this system, one cannot honestly question the appropriateness of medevac services.

Any time you have personnel and resources committed to conducting emergency missions under less than favorable circumstances, there is the risk of an accident. But, as Dr. Robert R. Bass correctly notes, if you or a member of your family member were involved in a traumatic incident, you would want that person to have the best possible rapid transport service available.

Given the congestion of our suburban communities, land transport to the appropriate treatment facility (not your local emergency room) can often be a long and arduous task, and this would compromise the "golden hour" concept coined by Dr. R Adams Cowley.

There appears to be a looming debate on the future of our medevac system. But for once, government needs to keep something that is not broken from being fixed.

Thomas G. Schaech, Bel Air

The writer is a retired chief of the Bel Air Fire Department and a former vice chairman of the Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Council of Maryland.

Put paramedics in the ambulances

The Baltimore Sun's article "Advantages of medevac transport challenged" (Oct. 5) clarified a point that should be emphasized.

Paramedics are certified in advanced cardio-pulmonary life support and able to intubate patients and give life-saving medications. They are assigned to medevac helicopters.

Emergency medical technicians are trained in basic life support, and they are generally assigned to ambulances.

If helicopters are used in cases in which advanced life support may be needed, why not just put more paramedics on ambulances?

Marylu Manning, Baltimore

Deregulating care could cause disaster

Shirley Svorny's idea to lower health care costs by deregulating health services (and lowering education standards for health care professionals) sounds like the same kind of "market innovation" that brought us things such as credit derivatives ("Cut health costs through market innovation," Commentary, Oct. 7).

And, you might notice, disaster.

Marie Armstrong, Pasadena

'Sweet deal' offers chance to cut costs

After reading "Sweet deal at Morgan" (Oct. 6) and learning about the shenanigans at state colleges, I think this would be a great place to start cutting the fat out of the budget.

Everybody is in an uproar over the pay of Wall Street executives. We should be looking at overpaid executives at taxpayer-funded colleges.

Martin Sadowski, Fallston

Slots the wrong way to fund our schools

News flash: Slot machines are not recession-proof. According to an Oct. 5 article in the Hartford Courant, consumer spending is down at casinos in Connecticut. The Foxwoods casino laid off 200 people this summer and is cutting 700 more jobs.

Anyone who thinks that Maryland's education system would benefit from slots revenue is fooling himself or herself. It would be years before we saw any profit from slots, and too many groups are being promised a piece of the pie.

The only sure thing is that if slots are approved, the rich slots parlor owners will walk away with 40 percent of the profits.

Slots opponents are often asked: "If we don't have slots, how will we pay for education?"

Here's one suggestion: Why not ask the public to contribute money that would be dedicated to education when they pay their Maryland income tax?

Then we'll see just how important our children are to us.

I'm willing to do my part.

Kim Roman, Glen Burnie

The writer is a co-chairwoman of NoCasiNo Maryland.

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