Readers Write: (July 5): Medical records, Minnesota Orchestra, lost dog, Peter's Grill

  • Updated: July 4, 2013 - 6:07 PM

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Medical records must be modernized

After four months of shuffling between three nursing homes and two hospitals, my cousin died. Each move required a transfer of medical information to maintain consistent care, but this task proved to be impossible. Each facility required my cousin to provide, by memory, a complete medical history, including hospital stays, doctors, medications, surgeries, procedures and diagnoses. How is such an expectation realistic?

At each location, a new team of doctors, nurses, aides, therapists, diagnoses and recommendations was assembled. You do the math — think of how much information my cousin was expected to retain. At the time of her death, she’d been in the hospital for more than a week, and records from the previous facility had yet to arrive.

Those who would argue that the sharing of medical records is an invasion of privacy, I would have to respond: It’s a matter of life. To those who would say she got lost in the system, I would ask: What system?



Something’s gotta give. Musicians?

I recently returned to Minneapolis after a month outside the country, and perhaps the distance gave me perspective about “the elephant in the living room.” After 10 months, there is no progress in resolving the dispute between the Minnesota Orchestra board and the musicians’ union. I find it stunning, in this state that prides itself on civility and collaboration, that we endure months without performances of a treasured orchestra.

Possibly the deadlock results from widespread misunderstandings. I’ve talked with normally well-informed friends, who express the following:

1) “It is a shame that the board won’t even talk with the musicians that they have locked out.” Fact: The board has pleaded with the musicians’ union to meet and talk, but the union simply refuses.

2) “I wish the board would be more transparent and provide the musicians with the financial information that they keep requesting.” Fact: The board has shared its full financial information.

3) “If only the board was not so miserly. Surely they can afford to pay the musicians what they are worth.” Fact: Given the resources of the orchestra, the only way the board could agree to continue paying the full complement of musicians at the most recent pay scale would be to empty the endowment over the next five years. The board is hardly miserly. The board members and their sponsoring corporations have donated more than $60 million to the orchestra in the past five years.

I’m a lifelong liberal Democrat, and my knee-jerk reaction is to support the union side, but in this case I believe the musicians’ union needs to recognize financial realities. In 1972, Nixon went to China and shook hands with his nemesis Mao Zedong. Egypt’s Anwar Sadat and Israel’s Menachem Begin signed a peace treaty. Nelson Mandela was released from 27 years in prison and began talks with F. W. de Klerk that ended apartheid. Surely the orchestra’s union leaders can sit down and start talking.

DAVID KOEHLER, Minneapolis

• • •

When the expensive renovation of Orchestra Hall is finally completed, and locked-out musicians have all found other jobs, a large marble marquee can be placed out in front with these words engraved: Monument to Foolishness. Tours at 1:00 and 4:00.

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