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Letters to Globe Magazine

April 10, 2011

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A profile in courage

I just read Charles P. Pierce’s piece on Ryan Westmoreland (“Rebuilding Ryan,” March 20) and felt compelled to write and commend him on an amazing article. I am a City Council member in New York, a long-suffering Mets fan, and one of those obsessive rotisserie baseball guys. I drafted Westmoreland with my first pick and followed his every move. When the story broke last year about his medical situation, my reaction was oddly personal. I have followed his progress and find it simultaneously heartbreaking and inspiring. This has ceased being a story about a baseball player – though part of me holds out hope that he gets to fulfill his dream – and has become a much more important depiction of life, family loyalty, determination, and love.

James S. Oddo / Staten Island, New York

I’m not a religious guy, but I’m going to St. Anthony’s to light a candle for this determined man. How can you not pull for him?

Robert DeRosa / Hyde Park

Last July, my 24-year-old son, Michael, was diagnosed with a cavernous malformation on his brainstem. When Michael was in Georgetown University Hospital, a resident told us about Westmoreland. He mentioned Dr. Robert Spetzler and the Barrow Neurological Institute. We sent Mike’s scans, and he had surgery two weeks later. Michael is one of the lucky ones: He came out of surgery with no deficits. We are eternally thankful to Spetzler and everyone at Barrow. I pray that Westmoreland will continue his progress and one day play for the Red Sox.

Susan Hess / Potomac, Maryland

Second opinions

As an emergency room physician at Tufts Medical Center and someone often on the receiving end of patient transfers such as the one Dr. Meghan MacLean Weir described in her essay, “When a Half-Truth Is the Best Medicine” (Perspective, March 27), I am dismayed and saddened by her lack of respect for patients and their families. It may be very difficult to face a patient, or a patient’s family members, with the possibility of a horrible, life-changing disease such as pediatric cancer, yet that is something we must do every day. A good physician can balance diagnostic uncertainty with hope and cautious realism. Weir ought to find the courage to face her own patient, and the patient’s parents, to explain her concerns. That would be the ethical way to care for her patient.

Dr. Frank Friedman / Brookline

Thank you for a beautifully written piece about handling news for parents in an emergency room. Weir’s carefully calibrated combination of information and compassion is a comfort.

Jamy B. Madeja / Boston

Comments Write to magazine@globe.com or The Boston Globe Magazine/Letters, PO BOX 55819, Boston, MA 02205-5819. Letters are subject to editing.

  • April 10, 2011 cover
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