Three Wombs for Dr. Sogor

Letters published December 11, 2002

Dio, with King's X and Hammerfall The Odeon, 1295 Old River Road, the Flats 8 p.m. Friday, December 6, $26.50 advance/$28 day of show, 216-241-5555.

Blind Guardian, with Symphony X. 9 p.m. Friday, December 6, at the Agora Theatre, 5000 Euclid Avenue, $20, 216-241-5555.

All OB/GYNs face lawsuits:

I find it reprehensible that Sarah Fenske has chosen to call into question the competency of Dr. Laszlo Sogor ["The Forceps Affair," November 13]. While I appreciate the tremendous grief these two families must bear, every physician knows -- and is ethically and legally bound to inform his patients -- that even with the best possible medical care, negative outcomes can occur. If you chose to look at any practicing OB/GYN, you would find lawsuits alleging incompetence due to poor medical outcomes.

Dr. Sogor, as director of OB/GYN residency training at University Hospitals (in addition to serving as medical director of Preterm and Planned Parenthood of Greater Cleveland), has obviously dedicated his life's work to excellent medical care for women. I would gladly entrust my body, or that of my sister or niece, to the gracious care of Dr. Sogor.

Heather Harrington

Home-birthed and thankful:

Seeing the baby picture, I initially walked up to the newspaper rack to grab a Scene. And then I saw the headline "The Forceps Affair" and knew it would be a heart-rending story. So I walked away. I turned back and am glad I did. Sarah Fenske's article about little Matthew made me cry. You see, we have four gorgeous, healthy children.

I called my wife and thanked her, because when we got married, she said, "We are going to do home births." A new and fast-growing group of radicals is saying no to doctor intervention in a natural process. And it is exactly because of stories like this that we home-birthed. Did we have problems at home? Yes. Did we overcome them? Yes. Are our children healthy? Yes.

Congratulations on a great, great article and writing style. Never quit. Never do the expected. Never rest on your laurels. Never think great is good enough.

Matthew Mann Minarik
Fairview Park

A prayer for the Fenskes:

I just read your article, and I am all choked up. I can't believe that this piece of garbage hasn't been thrown out of the medical field. I am thanking God right now that I had a fantastic doctor to deliver my two beautiful children and that my daughter had a fantastic doctor deliver her beautiful son. She had a difficult birth, but the doctor and nurses were great.

I will pray for the Fenskes, that they will have more children with a better doctor. Too bad they didn't just listen to Dr. Judge, but sometimes pain has to teach us a lesson. I am passing your article on to every mother, so that they, too, can pass it on to their daughters.

The public has the right to know about doctors like this. He should not be holding the positions he has. Let him teach, but not perform any births.

Barbara A. Sees
North Olmsted

Rethinking the role of doctors:

Sarah Fenske's article concerning the use of forceps in the deliveries of Matthew Fenske (unrelated to the author) and Carlion Cornett is indeed a chilling tale. As a third-year medical student, there were several underlying points that resonated with me. Although the story is certainly anything but flattering to Dr. Sogor and perhaps the medical community in general, I wish to comment from something of an insider's view of medicine.

Regularly, I have witnessed an adversarial nature in the relationship between the patient and the health care team. To paraphrase what a family physician-cum-mentor told me early in my medical education: When you go to the hospital, you will see that it is often the health care team versus the patient. I do not know exactly why this happens, but it does. My gut feeling is that this idea is based -- at least in part -- on a physician's fear of litigation, should a mistake occur.

Additionally, an adversarial tone to a doctor-patient relationship may be based on a physician's egocentrism. The egotism -- that the doctor is omnipotent -- is often inculcated in the student-doctor during the educational years. For the patient, the result may be the feeling that medicine is something that is done to you; that the doctor is always correct! In fact, there are often many paths to health. Deciding how to proceed in difficult cases of disease might yield several different opinions among a group of doctors. It is not difficult to find a friend or relative with a story about an overbearing doctor who treated the patient as something less than human.

In some respects, medicine has only itself to blame. Often without shame, health care advertising may leave us with the impression that there is a silver bullet for every occasion. The average patient may become painfully aware that no such silver bullet exists. At the end of the day, I believe resolving these issues may lie somewhere in the roots of the word "doctor." In Latin, doctor means teacher.

Michael Gorjanc,
Case Western Reserve School of Medicine

Maureen O'Connor's appalling résumé:

Scene writer Sarah Fenske hit a home run with her recent article "And Justice for Mo" [October 23], which details the corruption and lack of integrity of Lieutenant Governor and Ohio Supreme Court Justice-elect Maureen O'Connor.

As Summit County prosecutor, O'Connor's whitewash of the Blue Cross kickback scandal at the GOP-controlled City of Cuyahoga Falls was appalling, but hardly surprising. Ohio Republicans have blatantly allowed corporations to plunder this state. It is why Ohio is in serious decline.

Equally appalling was the Akron Beacon Journal's failure to pursue this story once it landed on O'Connor's doorstep. "I admire his . . . pursuit of justice," ABJ Publisher James Crutchfield wrote about his idol, Nelson Mandela, in June. It is unfortunate that when it came to the pursuit of justice in the Blue Cross scandal, Crutchfield's paper did not practice what it preaches.

Congratulations to Scene and Ms. Fenske for giving this disgraceful obstruction of justice the overdue attention it deserves. The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) also has two excellent reports on this Blue Cross scandal, which are available on the AFSC website.

O'Connor's dreadful and willful ignorance of corporate wrongdoing has resulted in her election to the Supreme Court. She knows how to play ball with the GOP's big campaign contributors. She's already talking about how the efforts of doctors on her behalf will "pay off," presumably the court rules on some sort of tort reform.

Brian Gray

Believe the unemployment horror stories:

Your article on the state of the unemployment system ["Encountering the Beast," November 6] hit the nail on the head. I am currently battling the Beast. My most recent conversation ended with the customer-service rep refusing to put her supervisor on the phone. She told me, "There is nothing we can do to help you."

You see, my paperwork was filled out over the phone when I became unemployed at the Cleveland Free Times. I filed October 3 and got a rejection, though no one there can explain why. Now I'm in the "appeal process," which could take up to six weeks. If they would hire some of the unemployed to get their systems in order, maybe people who need their unemployment check wouldn't have to wait months to get it or wait for hours on hold. My experience has been that no one at the unemployment office cares.

Name withheld upon request

Appearances are deceiving:

On November 13, Scene published the article "Aaron Judgment." When I was interviewed by reporter Andrew Putz, I made it clear that there was never any suggestion that Aaron Phillips had acted improperly. The only argument was that, in the eyes of the defendant, there was an appearance of impropriety. The judge never found, nor was it ever suggested, that Phillips's conduct was less than professional.

Richard Agopian

Media monopolies make the world go 'round:

Cartoonist Tom Tomorrow's satirical postmortem on the 2002 election [This Modern World, November 13] was aptly trenchant. Once again, his blandly Establishment spinmeisters at Action McNews skewed reality to suit the status quo.

"Our danger," warned Evelyn John St. Loe Strachey, "is that the virtual monopolization of the media of mass expression by big capital will distort and finally abort the democratic process." The member of British Parliament made this remark in 1956.

William Dauenhauer

In defense of Tommy Stinson's liver:

". . . And the elderly, former boozehound bassist of the Replacements, whose liver is the size of [Axl] Rose's ego . . ." [quoting Soundbites, November 20]. Really? Since when is 36 considered elderly? At least you were accurate in referring to Tommy Stinson as a "former boozehound bassist," but both he and Paul Westerberg had said goodbye to the boozing by the Replacements' last tour in 1991 -- when Tommy was the ripe old age of 25. C'mon, you can do better than cheap sensationalistic slop like that.

Chris Riedel

It's an activist's life:

A photo of me chanting "bad poetry" at a Cleveland anti-war march ["Confessions of a Virgin Protester," November 20] has left me feeling implicated by Martin Kuz as being decidedly uninspiring. Considering Kuz's self-proclaimed virginity at "protesting" -- not to mention his jaded and sarcastic commentary -- his reporting seems as appropriate as an opera reviewer covering a Browns game.

Somehow Kuz feels informed enough to critically dissect a complex social movement in a way that anti-war veterans would themselves hesitate to. He provides no arguments or reasoning from anyone he supposedly interviewed, let alone bothers to do anything but play his poor "Gen Xer" role and laugh about his own apathy. Coupled with startling inaccuracies (rioting anarchists?) and omissions (why were they marching again?), I fear that Kuz's own docudrama will be as boring and uninformative to read by your average Clevelander (pro- or anti-war) as it is to your average peace activist. Yawn.

Dana Williams

Jeers for the jaded Gen Xer:

As someone who witnessed the incredible peace march, I found myself disturbed to read "Confessions of a Virgin Protester" by self-proclaimed convictionless Martin Kuz. While Kuz's self-indulgent, aren't-I-clever-and-oh-so-witty musings were occasionally amusing, I came away learning nothing substantial about what motivated all those people to attend the biggest peace demonstration in Cleveland since Vietnam.

Kuz only succeeded, unfortunately, in a bravado-filled attempt to bring attention to the irrelevant. His focus on inane innuendo and trivial items left out the real story -- a story that could have actually informed your readers. Had he given his own "brainpan" a "few hard shakes," he might have realized not only the poverty of his reporting, but that maybe, just maybe, these people had chosen to go outside for a reason.

But he does not explore this reason. He chooses not to attempt to understand why anyone else would find comforting solidarity in the experience and feel that "being with all these people, you don't feel alone." I believe that he was very alone in the opinion that he ascribes to some unknown and uncited group: "Some wondered if anyone . . . would show up for the event." He then attributes this so-called fact to the "drubbing the left took" on Election Day, mistakenly equating Democrats with doves, who through their by-and-large support for Bush's hawk agenda have destroyed in themselves any semblance of the qualities exhibited by those dedicated people at the march. Those citizens possessed a true commitment to the not-really-so-radical idea that war is indeed hell; benefits the powerful few and not the struggling many; brings suffering, death, and destruction upon ourselves and our "enemies"; and creates more problems than it "solves," prolonging a cycle of violence.

Yes, I would indeed call Kuz "jaded." And unfortunately, he's all too proud of it.

Nathan Ruggles
Cuyahoga Falls

Kuz story dents Scene readership:

It's amazing that Martin Kuz thought his critique of the first big demonstration in Cleveland against the war on Iraq was actually worth the ink it took to print. It's even more amazing that the editor of Scene agreed with him.

Since Kuz admits he's never been to an anti-war rally before, one might expect a little modesty and a little less contemptuous arrogance. If Kuz should eventually decide he's opposed to Bush's war, I'm sure peace activists would welcome his opinion about how the action should be conducted. Until then, don't hold your breath waiting for me to pick up the next free copy of Scene.

Judy Gallo

What to wear to your winter war protest:

It's telling that when a thousand people gather to express their disgust for this country's blind willingness to support Bush's war, and the city's alternative newspaper focuses on how many people have dogs with them and how many are drinking coffee. In an age when our civil liberties are being taken away, I wonder if next time you could perhaps focus on the fashion do's and don'ts of a protest.

Sofia Marcovici
Shaker Heights

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