Letters to Globe Magazine

February 27, 2011

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Curing health care

I found your article about Ralph de la Torre (“The Health Care Doctor,” February 6) both interesting and troubling. He seems to have an exceptionally strong intellectual capacity, though that seems to be coupled with an overpowering ego. Health care needs people of vision and dedication to address and resolve numerous intractable problems. From that perspective, de la Torre may be an ideal advocate. However, he seems driven to make his mark in bold ways that may not be suitable in the long run. His considerable involvement in “Obama-Care” only heightens my concern that we are indeed on the wrong road to improving health care. Frank Powers / Boxborough

De la Torre’s aim is – hold your breath – to deliver better health care at lower cost. Who would have ever dreamed of such a radical idea? OK, I’m being a cynic. But cost containment is already here. I have a friend whose neck was hurting. Diagnosis: arthritis. It didn’t get better; months later, they ran tests that showed he had cancer. Spending the money for the appropriate test at the outset would have led to a better prognosis and less aggressive, less costly treatment. De la Torre talks about eliminating waste and cutting costs. What’s needed is specifics. Maybe I’m not cynical, just skeptical. I do wish de la Torre the best, but color me dubious. Edmund E. Ackerson / Belmont

Neil Swidey was fair, informative, and gave a human touch to the story. I was very impressed. Carla McCabe / Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Inscrutable babies

I read Lisa Scanlon’s “The Secret Life of Babies” (Perspective, February 6) with amusement. When our first child was very young, I came home one snowy night and was met by my wife, who asked me to give our daughter a bath while she ran errands. As I was drying Sarah off, I was shocked to see her lips and fingertips were blue and quickly called the doctor’s advice line. I was told to bundle her up and keep her warm and that someone would call me back in a half-hour. When my wife returned and I told her what was going on, she laughed and said, “Sarah had a grape popsicle this afternoon.” Josh Rosenblatt / Easthampton

I find it unfortunate and ironic that in an issue with a cover story on health care, you’d also print an essay like “The Secret Life of Babies.” Here’s a story about a family that went through various medical tests and even took a trip to the emergency room, and “Guess what, folks, ha, ha,” the baby smelled like maple syrup because of a snack she was being fed at day care. How much do you think all those tests cost? This is a prime example of why health care costs are high, and yet the author treats it like a joke. Heather Porter / Ayer

Susan’s supporters

The very best of luck to Susan Massad (Dinner With Cupid, February 6). I hope she meets someone really nice. She seems attractive, interesting, and accomplished. On the other hand, the companion with whom she had the misfortune to be paired was unkind, insensitive, and ungracious. Please do us ladies a favor and ensure he is stranded on an island. Lynne Davis / Salem, New Hampshire

Dinner With Cupid is the first piece I read on Sunday. I’m always cheering for the people daring enough to go on a blind date in such a public forum. So I was appalled at Kamran Nafissi’s post-mortem on his date. He was anything but gallant! Massad, who described him as “very nice,” deserves a second date with a more sporting man. Debra Lawless / Chatham

I’m occasionally amazed at some of the Dinner With Cupid participants’ comments, but Nafissi’s represent an all-time low. I guess being a gentleman is not one of his virtues, possibly explaining why he is single. Nafissi, enjoy the bachelor life. That way, you may also be doing the women of the Boston area a favor. Ernie Mondou / Osterville

Nafissi’s tacky remarks make it clear to this reader why he is still single. Susan, you dodged a bullet with this guy! You deserve much better. Tracy Geary / Lynnfield

Rethinking vows

Robin Rouse brought up an important idea when she referenced the phrase “till death do us part” (Coupling, February 6). I’m a retired United Church minister, and when I was an active minister, I was concerned about that phrase. I reasoned that people feel enough guilt without needing religious guilt. Nor should either party have to endure the accusations of the other regarding breaking promises to God if the divorce is acrimonious, which most are. So I counseled couples before the wedding to recognize the meaning of that phrase in a slightly different way: It’s an ideal to which we strive rather than an absolute standard by which we are judged. Rev. Larry Siebrands / Murray Harbour, Prince Edward Island

As a 40-something divorcee, now happily remarried, I wonder what Rouse’s ex-husband has to say. What happened to the hard work that makes marriage successful? I look at my “new” in-laws about to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary with envy – it was not easy, but together they weathered many storms and fell in love over and over again.

I found the essay full of the midlife crisis babble that leaves the other spouse forced to begin a new life he or she neither expected nor wanted. Publishing the essay justifies all the people who decide they “love” but are no longer “in love” with their spouse and gives them permission to walk away from their vows. How sad for your readers. Wendy Schiffman Wilsker / Westborough

Comments? Write to or The Boston Globe Magazine/Letters, PO Box 55819, Boston, MA 02205-5819. Letters are subject to editing.

  • February 27, 2011 cover
  • Feb. 27 cover
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