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Sam on Wry
In regard to Patricia Calhoun's July 22 column, "The Answer to a Riddle," I'm glad to see that Sam Riddle is taking some heat! I've heard Tom Martino and Peter Boyles speak their minds about Sam, but it was nice to see a lengthy and thoughtful editorial questioning him. The morning that I saw Sam Riddle's photo on the front page of the Denver Rocky Mountain News (at the hospital, comforting one of Vikki Buckley's loved ones), I called Martino's show asking if anyone could find out if he was on the clock during the family's "time of need." Unfortunately, Martino was out for the week and I never got an answer.

To read that friends and family were there holding a vigil at the hospital was okay, but who could have guessed that Sam Riddle and his clients the Shoelses would be there? I had no idea that the Shoelses were so close to Ms. Buckley. (I believe Mr. Shoels was quoted as saying that Ms. Buckley was "like a sister.") Did they know Ms. Buckley before Sam Riddle contacted them after Columbine? Of course, Sam Riddle has said that he was well worth his fee and is more than happy to attack his accusers rather than defend his positions. I heard him do exactly that when he hosted Jay Marvin's KHOW show a couple of weeks ago. The topic was the upcoming Safeway strike, and I was angered when I heard callers try to offer counter-arguments to his pro-union stance. When callers spoke of replacement workers working through any possible strike, Sam's basic response was to insist that there were no replacement workers, only "scabs." No sense in debating the issue when you have the ability to attack the caller and hang up on them!

In my opinion, Sam Riddle holds the same esteem in this town as Ann Sulton (Follow That Story!, July 22). Remember the righteous attorney who defended the "victim" car thief who killed a cop during his high-speed getaway attempt, then was injured because he was slammed onto a gurney before being loaded into an ambulance? Both Ms. Sulton and Mr. Riddle are obviously out to even the playing field for those who are being slandered in the press. Of course, their only reward is the satisfaction of bettering the community (oh, yeah, and collecting some decent cash for their efforts, too!).

Stay on Sam's ass, Patty! You go, girl!
Jeff Samson
via the Internet

Med Alert
I have a two-pronged letter regarding two Westword articles, both dealing with the medical community.

Gayle Worland's "Missed Diagnosis," in the July 22 issue, dealt with the mistakes doctors have made in several cases, their unmitigated arrogance after being called to task, and the lack of recourse besides the figurehead Board of Medical Examiners, which does nothing for injured patients. That is why we need a valid Patients Bill of Rights, but insurance companies and doctors have diluted that effort. Only if we band together and demand accountability from providers are we ever going to see a change. Most doctors arrogantly refer people to mental-health practitioners when they are incapable of diagnosing a particular problem, and this is a common problem, especially with women and the elderly, who are victims of the medical profession.

The other article was T.R. Witcher's "This is Crazy," in the June 17 issue, which described Stan Israel's 72-hour hold in a psychiatric ward for no good reason except the absolute arrogance of the medical community.

I don't need to elaborate on the articles, both of which were well-reported. Keep up the good work, Westword. Obviously, Colorado has a long way to go with medical care. The state needs to stop bragging and improve standards of health care. Thank you for your paper; it's needed here!

Noreen Jackson
Aurora

This is my first letter to the editor, but I feel strongly about Gayle Worland's "Missed Diagnosis." I almost lost my daughter due to a doctor's arrogance and smugness. She was below her birth weight at two months and was listless and uninterested. For two weeks she had a constant low fever and diarrhea. My pediatrician kept blaming her weight loss and lethargy on the quality of my breast milk. He had me try Jell-O water and goat's-milk-formulas and banana-based formulas. He ignored me (I was a very young mother, eighteen years old), and nothing I said was taken seriously. He kept telling me, "Try this for a week or so..." And she just kept failing.

I contracted strep throat, and with a fever of 104, I couldn't care for her. In desperation, I took her to the hospital. Thank God I did. If I hadn't brought her in that morning, the nurses told me, she'd have died of dehydration by afternoon. There were two other babies admitted who were born on the same day and in the same delivery room (it hadn't been cleaned properly), and the other babies were admitted on the second or third day for fever and diarrhea.

Please, mothers, trust yourselves. Doctors aren't God (even though we pay them as if they were), and no one knows your baby as well as you do. If your insurance company is objecting to treatment you feel is necessary or won't pay for a second opinion (or a third!), find the care on your own. It's better to have a healthy baby and a big bill in the mail! Luckily, my daughter had no lasting effects from this incident. She's happy and healthy and grown now. But believe me, neither of us take a doctor's word as gospel. Ask questions--ask "why" until you get a clear answer. Don't let the smoke and mirrors confuse you! Be strong and persevere; you are on a righteous quest.

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