Commentary

Letters to the Editor

Page 5 of 5

John Monroe
Highlands Ranch

Color bind: I read with interest your article on Highlands Ranch. Having done some work down there, I saw firsthand the fear the covenant brownshirts instill in the populace. One woman begged me to paint the garage-door section I'd replaced so she wouldn't get the dreaded nasty-gram. I could only recommend someone and hope it got done before her neighbors ratted her off to the covenant cops. Being an automotive hobbyist, I could never live there. My old car is their eyesore, even if it is all together and running (it isn't all one color).

Pat Desrosiers
Denver


Trick or Treatment

Prisoners of pain: I read with great interest Alan Prendergast's article on Dr. Rick Schmidt, formerly at the University of Colorado hospital in Denver ("The Strange Case of Dr. Schmidt," September 20). There is no doubt in my mind that Dr. Schmidt saved my life from ruin. I was headed toward disability, suicide or insanity.

Unlike every other doctor who immediately recommended I have a hysterectomy, Dr. Schmidt addressed my pain, as opposed to pushing surgery. I had to wait three hours to see him. Every examining room was full; the waiting room was stuffed with patients. The wait was worthwhile. Dr. Schmidt took time to listen to me and to ask many questions. I left his office with a pain "cocktail" of various medications. For the first time in months, I experienced no pain.

I went to see Dr. Schmidt regularly. He discouraged a hysterectomy, explaining how surgery could make my pain worse. I never saw a doctor work as long and as exhaustively as Dr. Schmidt. He was besieged by patients. All of us had the same experience: Dr. Schmidt was making us better.

I cannot find any credibility in the story of the woman who says that Dr. Schmidt refused to take out her wires because she did not have insurance. Dr. Schmidt practiced in the shabbiest of offices. This was no glitzy private practice. While I had private insurance, my guess is that very few of Dr. Schmidt's patients were so fortunate. Not only did no one seem to care whether I could pay at CU, but Dr. Schmidt went out of his way to do things for which he clearly wasn't compensated.

One day I appeared for my scheduled appointment, and the offices of Dr. Schmidt were bare -- literally gone. I was disoriented, shocked, confused.

It is incredible that an entire patient population would be left -- without notice -- without a successor physician and, most important, without treatment. Lawyers cannot walk away from their cases. They must either see them through to resolution or turn the client over to a list of three referrals.

Not until I read the Westword article did I understand that the university terminated Dr. Schmidt, and in doing so terminated his patients as well -- with no direction, no guidance, no consolation, no offers of help. When Dr. Schmidt ceased to exist, the university must have thought that all those poor people stuffed in the waiting room disappeared as well. My heart goes out to all of them who suffered so much.

I speak English. I have private insurance. I have money and a law degree. What happened to all those patients who were terribly ill but had no such resources? The conclusion is inescapable that some of them died.

Susan G. Haines
Denver

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