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Letters to the Editor 

Don't Forget LSU
In Sammy Mack's otherwise excellent article 'Physician, Pay Thyself,"(News & Views, Oct. 30, 2007), she states, 'The new LSU hospital is expected to fill much of the void left by Charity, but the facility isn't projected to open until 2012. That leaves at least five more years without a dedicated urban hospital caring for the city's uninsured."

I'm sure you are aware that the LSU Interim Hospital is operational, with 179 staffed beds and trauma services. We also have behavioral health inpatient facilities at LSU DePaul and more than 30 outpatient clinics currently in operation.

Please know that in this post-Katrina environment, LSU remains firmly committed to its twin missions of graduate medical education and providing care to the uninsured.

Marvin McGraw
Director of Communications and Media Relations, LSU Hospitals

Roots of Corruption
In reference to 'Sheep's Clothing?" (News & Views, Nov. 13), I think I've just been insulted. Did Stonecipher and Baker really intend to equate corruption with Catholicism, a 'French and Spanish colonial past," and 'Roman Civil Law"? I don't think corrupt governors like Huey Long, Earl Long and Jimmie Davis were either French, Spanish or Catholic, or from south Louisiana for that matter.

Peter Derbes

No Decency?
I am used to Washington doubletalk. Politicians have always talked out of both sides of their mouths. When the government promises grants to poor people to help them recover from a disaster, it should be just that " a grant.

Louisiana's poor, disabled and elderly, like my 70-year-old aunt in Vermillion Parish, had to fight through the bureaucracy and broken promises of Gov. Kathleen Blanco and the Louisiana Recovery Authority just to receive a small pittance. Now the IRS will require that she pay taxes on the so-called grant she received. Her measly $20,000, which was one-third the original amount offered her, will garner a $7,000 tax bill, leaving her with $13,000 to replace her home. So the government gives and takes away " that is about the most ruthless game I have ever seen.

Why don't we try this with the Iraq war? Give Blackwater and other contractors another $100 million contract and take back one-third of it. What really bites is that contractors in Iraq do not pay income tax on the first $80,000 of their annual income, but this government is going to make the poor, disabled and elderly victims of Hurricanes Rita and Katrina pay taxes on a grant.

A phrase from the 1950s resonates with today's treatment of U.S. citizens by politicians: 'Have you no decency, sir?"

William Foster
Vidor, Texas

Act with Your Heart
I was surprised to discover an item from the American Heart Association's recent scientific sessions in Orlando (Nov. 4-7) stating that women are still being underrepresented in clinical trials despite a federal mandate.

Every minute in this country, someone's mother, sister, wife or friend will die from heart disease, stroke or other cardiovascular diseases. In Louisiana, that adds up to more than 7,700 women. As a heart disease survivor, I realize how lucky I am to have beaten the odds. But there is much we can do to help all women live longer, heart-healthier lives.

According to the abstract I read, women aren't equally represented in major randomized cardiovascular trials (RCTs) " despite the National Institutes of Health (NIH) 10 years ago issuing a directive that more women be included in federally funded clinical research.

According to the abstract presented by Dr. Soo Hyun Kim of Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, women accounted for more than half of all cardiovascular deaths, and that their greater involvement in clinical trials remains a priority and deserves ongoing scrutiny.

I am aware of legislation in Congress known as the HEART for Women Act that could play a major role in improving the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of heart disease and stroke in women. The bill would help educate both women and health-care providers about heart disease, stroke and the most effective treatments for women. It would also expand Centers for Disease Control's WISEWOMAN program, which provides free cardiovascular screenings to uninsured and underinsured women " a program that's not currently available anywhere in the southeastern United States.

We need to take action now to save the lives of the women we love.

Essence Harris

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