Patient, colleague rise to defense of doctor


I was appalled by the portrayal of Dr. Patrick Carney in the front-page story on the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice ("Doctors who err escape penalties," Feb. 5). Physicians who perform surgery are much more likely to be sued multiple times. In order to evaluate whether Carney is "above average" in number of lawsuits, the writers need to compare rates across dermatologists who perform plastic surgery.

I worked with Carney in his dermatology practice for a month during my family medicine residency. He was professional, smart and genuinely concerned for patient welfare. In subsequent years, I referred many patients to him for concerning moles, unusual rashes and a host of other dermatological issues.

The two patients in the stories, unfortunately, had bad outcomes. Cosmetic procedures carry inherent risk. I doubt that sensational journalism is their best recourse.


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Having suffered with psoriasis for almost 53 years, I know a thing or two about dermatologists. For the last five years, I've been a patient of Dr. Carney. The Star Tribune's portrayal of him was grossly one-sided. In my experience ,he has been smart, kind and compassionate. He has greatly helped me with my disease. No, he can't cure my psoriasis, and he can't make me look like I'm 30. Perhaps the women featured in the article had unrealistic expectations.


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Birth control

An assault on religious freedom -- or not?


Catholic bishops don't believe their religious institutions should include birth control in health insurance plans. But polls show a majority of Catholics want birth control coverage ("Short takes: Birth control debate," Feb. 8).

Surely, bishops understand that not everyone working for Catholic institutions is of their faith. Catholics themselves are under no obligation to utilize these benefits. Many of us are covered by health plans that offer myriad choices of which we ourselves do not avail ourselves, yet they are there for those that need them, which it as it should be. I see no "assault" on religion.


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When the government starts requiring health plans or institutions to provide abortion coverage, what specious argument will the editorial staff then use to justify forcing people to forsake their faith ("Right decision on birth control," Jan. 30)? The Obama administration's decision is the first step down a slippery slope.


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I'm at a loss to understand the position of the high-ranking Catholics on the birth-control debate. In November, Pope Benedict went on record approving the use of condoms to prevent diseases. Millions of women around the world have died in childbirth, or in complications from pregnancy.

And many of these deaths have resulted from diseases which they were unable to combat due to their immune systems being weakened by too-frequent pregnancies. I urge the Catholic leadership to not take the stance of this being a threat to their freedom of religion.


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What the regulation does is prevent Catholics from imposing their Catholicism on non-Catholics. That's what the Constitution intended.


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Voter ID

What's the problem? Getting ID isn't hard


The idea that a voter ID requirement will disenfranchise anyone is laughable. The sponsors of the legislation are more than willing to provide for free IDs for anyone who needs one.

If someone is physically unable to make it to a government office -- all of them handicapped-accessible by law -- to get an ID, then how are they going to make it to a church basement to be able to vote?

Worry that legal immigrants won't obtain an ID because they are afraid the U.S. government will act like whatever repressive dictatorship they moved here from is ridiculous. By the time a legal immigrant has reached the point that they are eligible to vote, they've had a great deal of contact with the government.

They've filled out forms, paid fees and, I'm fairly certain, obtained an ID to present to immigration authorities when keeping appointments to fill out even more paperwork. If they were scared of the government, I doubt they would have spent all the time and money it requires to become a legal immigrant.


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Supporting Komen

Planned Parenthood created ugly politics


In light of the events, or should I say attacks, on the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation, I feel compelled to comment. As a breast-cancer survivor, I am completely disgusted by the bully pulpit of Planned Parenthood on this organization.

They took an admirable, well-intentioned organization and embroiled it in an ugly political issue. I support Karen Hendel, who resigned as a vice president at Komen. Let us all remember the reason this organization was created.

A sister was lost to breast cancer, and a loving sister vowed to make a difference. I thank you, Komen foundation, for all your contributions to this worthy cause. To the rest of you who are trashing this organization, shame on you.


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A Feb. 5 letter from Sheldon Olkon ("The U.S. finally learns a critical history lesson") included an incorrect city of residence. Olkon is from Golden Valley.