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Is Speed So Important?

As I drove along Reisterstown Road, I found myself approaching stopped vehicles. I, too, slowed to a stop. A mother duck with seven or eight ducklings was attempting to cross four lanes of traffic. The ducklings readily followed their mother as she maneuvered through the array of strange sights and sounds.

Suddenly, in the far, oncoming lane, a silver sedan circumvented a stopped vehicle directly ahead of it, raced headlong into the duck procession, accelerating as it did so. The horror of the scene unfolded. A woman in an adjacent truck screamed from her window, "You goddamn bastard!" I pulled my car to the side of the road, jogged to the other side, returning to the scene of the crime-four ducklings smashed onto the blacktop, still warm. What could have been going through the mind of the sedan driver as he placed pressure with his foot on the accelerator?

I ask the same question of Johns Hopkins: Why is speed in planned growth so important? Why not take the time to address internal problems within the organizational structure before expanding? The labor strike of 2001, the accidental death of a research study volunteer in 2001, and the recent emphasis on statistics demonstrating the inability of women to find equal opportunity at this institution suggest that the organization is in need of reform.

Dr. Miller states, "The practice of medicine is far more complex than it was a century ago when the original Johns Hopkins Hospital was built." This may be true, yet I would argue that the needs of the people working within medicine remain relatively unchanged. A fair living wage, freedom from discrimination based on sex, race or religion, and protection from health risks associated with employment are such needs.

Miriam Reynolds, Research Technician

 

Expanding services for research and patient care, if that is what you are referring to when you mention "planned growth," is key to the mission of any academic medical center. The fact is, our current research and patient care facilities do not allow us to provide treatment to the patients of the future.

But expanding our patient care capabilities in no way precludes our efforts to improve the quality of life for our employees. Like you, we believe in a fair living wage, freedom from discrimination, protection for health risks, and all the elements that make for a successful work environment.

Expansion, as well as attending to the needs of employees, are both important goals. It has never been our intention to pursue one at the expense of the other.

Edward D. Miller, Dean/CEO

"Lowliest" Employees?

I have to say that I got stuck shortly after I started reading the piece on Dr. Goldberg, who, according to the latest Dome ["The Bequest of a Beloved Chairman," May] "can put even the lowliest employee at ease." Why is it that our writing keeps perpetuating the judgmental nature of "high" and "low" employees, especially when writing about people who by all accounts don't see life that way?

The fundamental point of the article is that Dr. Goldberg treats every person he meets with respect. Why can't we just say "every employee" instead of "even the lowliest employee?" Who does Dome think qualifies as one of Hopkins' "lowliest" employees? Physicians and nurses who care for patients? Administrative assistants who keep offices and departments running smoothly? Housekeeping and facilities staff who keep our facilities and rooms looking the way they should for one of the world's best hospitals? The employees who greet families and patients, help them through the maze of admitting and insurance issues or transport them through the hospital? The staff of the cafeterias and hospital kitchen who keep us all fed? Writers in Public Affairs?

All of Hopkins' employees provide important services that keep this institution running. Please don't herald employees in one story only to tear them (us!) down in another.

Joanna Downer, senior media representative,
JHM Office of Communications and Public Affairs

 

 

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