Sunday, March 24, 2002

By Staff
Don't blame Legislature
for doctors' insurance woes
To the editor:
I am a Meridian native and frequently keep up with the news in my home town and home state. I recently came across an article entitled "Medical Crisis Hits Home in Meridian" written by Meridian Star staff writer Steve Gillespie. The article dealt with how doctors are leaving Mississippi because of high medical liability insurance premiums forced on doctors by insurance companies.
The folks mentioned and quoted in the article stated that the reason for these high insurance premiums is that Mississippi does not have any tort reform laws in place to cap damage amounts in civil lawsuits, and went on to further criticize the Legislature for not passing such laws.
It is blatantly irresponsible to accuse the Legislature for doctors' woes in Mississippi and call for tort reform, or tort "deform" as I like to refer to the issue. If insurance companies followed the rules and behaved in a professional and moral way, by not cheating and mistreating their policyholders then there would be no need for lawsuits against insurance companies. Don't blame the Mississippi Legislature blame the insurance industry.
Ward Sullivan
Montgomery, Ala.
via e-mail
The stigma of mental illness
To the editor:
I am writing in reference to Craig Ziemba's column ("Insanely guilty," The Meridian Star, March 10). Mr. Ziemba's misinformed comparison to one's state of mind while speeding and Andrea Yates' serious mental illness is not only regrettable but also tragic. Those of us who more clearly understand the psychotic mind should make it our duty to educate those of such naive opinion.
The delusional mind is neither deliberate nor scheming. It does not see right or wrong, black or white, but a compelling absolute truth. Accompanying that perceived truth is the overwhelming need to act accordingly. The results range from the mainly ludicrous (stereotypically) to blatantly heinous, as is the case with Andrea Yates' destroying her children because she believed Satan would take them. To the psychotic, what one perceives by one's brain is, in fact, reality.
For Andrea Yates to be found guilty of anything other than a catastrophic brain disorder would be a grave travesty of justice. When stigma against mental illness is reduced through education and compassion, hopefully, many such tragedies may be prevented.
Brenda Pennington
National Alliance for the Mentally Ill
Meridian
Two-way streets
a great idea
To the editor:
I grew up in Meridian when there were two-way streets and when I returned to find one-way streets I found my mind had to stay on which way can I go and not end up in the wrong direction instead of being able to see my home town.
So speaking from a tourist standpoint I would say the streets would be much better two-way. Then, it might be possible to see things of interest and park to take a closer look.
Betty Armstrong
Orange Park, Fla.
via e-mail
Insanely not guilty'
To the editor:
It's a shame that in today's society mental illness still carries such a stigma. Depression is a real disease that in certain cases requires medication. If, as in the case of Andrea Yates, a medical doctor told her to stop the medication, a great tragedy might occur.
Craig Ziemba wrote, "It makes no difference to the decreased whether or not the killer was insane or the act premeditated." However, it matters to the loved ones left behind.
If I was struck and killed by a car driven by someone who had just had a heart attack and passed out and it was determined the doctor told the driver to stop taking his or her medication, yes, I'd be dead but I hope my family would realize this reason, not excuse, that I'm dead is because the doctor made a mistake and have sympathy and compassion for the driver (and doctor) because the driver is not guilty. If Andrea Yates was behind the wheel, I would think she would be insanely not guilty.
Sharon Yarrell
Toomsuba
Time for an
al-Qaeda Zapper Fund'
To the editor:
The war against terrorism is producing a growing budget deficit. It is suggested that this deficit may be reduced if not eliminated by patriotic taxpayers.
I propose formation of an "al-Qaeda Zapper Fund," which enables taxpayers to make a voluntary contribution to the U.S. war effort. All contributions would be graciously acknowledged, and major contributors ($1,000 or more) would receive a certificate suitable for framing.
The U.S. government could put out a suitable notice for 2002 contributors, and perhaps add an appropriate line on form 1040 for next year's taxpayers.
Paul Springer
Meridian
via e-mail

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