One might expect that — in learning that Minneapolis police officers often asked Hennepin Healthcare emergency medical services staff to administer ketamine, a sedative with known dangerous side effects (“Mpls. cops ordered suspects drugged,” June 15) — the supervising doctor for EMS might issue a statement that expressed strong concerns about nonmedical police personnel having any role in medical decisions made by his staff. Instead, Dr. Jeffrey Ho is quoted as condemning the report itself.
Ho, according to his web bio (reviewed Friday), happens to be a licensed deputy sheriff with long ties to law enforcement. In light of his personal background and misdirected statement, one might wonder what would have happened had an EMS tech refused a police officer’s order on medical ethical grounds. Would such a staff member have felt confident they had their supervisor’s backing?
I believe it is very important for our community that the doctors leading Hennepin Healthcare: Take a public stand repudiating the statement from Ho and Minnesota Poison Control System Medical Director Jon Cole while promising to investigate further; ensure safe channels for EMS staff to act ethically; and emphasize values in which the patient’s safety is paramount and the convenience to law enforcement is secondary. Let’s have patient-centered care at Hennepin Healthcare, not police-centered.
The Minneapolis Police Department, to its credit, continues to address problems it is alerted to. Will Hennepin Healthcare do the same?
Michael Friedman, Minneapolis
The writer is executive director of the Legal Rights Center.
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The front-page headline and other phrases in the article about the sedation of suspects stirred up hateful emotions toward Minneapolis police! There was only one statistic in the article — reported ketamine injections increased from three in 2012 to 62 in 2017. The rest of the article was anecdotal. What percentage of the 62 injections resulted in intubation? Is the injection increase only because this is a new procedure? How does it compare with other police departments? What percentage of arrested people are agitated or combative, etc.?
The article made some valuable points, including the quick policy changes made by the Police Department. However, it provided no basis to judge this issue as being an incidental problem or serious problem. Yet, I’d bet most of us readers got the negative impression that it is another serious police problem. Please, when meaningful statistics are not available, drop the emotional wording, make it clear that it is too soon to judge overall severity and do not place it on the front page.
Richard Weigel, Edina
I support President Trump, but child separation troubles me
Much to the chagrin of my adult children, I am a supporter of President Donald Trump. Among other things, I believe tax cuts have been the major factor in the upturn in our economy and downturn in unemployment numbers. I also believe his meeting with Kim Jong Un is a positive first step in ending that ongoing conflict and perhaps an avenue for those unfortunate people to come out of the dark ages. We can only hope and pray.
But there is an issue at hand that troubles me, and that is the recent directive by the president that separates the children of illegal immigrants from their parents, often for long periods of time. I believe this is unfair and cruel to these children, who had no say in their predicament, especially those at a very young age. Could there not be an alternative to this unfortunate and cruel policy?
Wayne Widmer, Minneapolis
Editor’s note: In addition to those caught crossing the border without legal documentation, the child-separation practice has been applied to asylum-seekers who are making a case for entry in accordance with international conventions.
A few things to add to recent coverage of my son’s job, goals
First, I have no frustration with regard to Chris’ employment at the Friendly Buffalo. Chris has enjoyed dishwashing and kitchen work since he was 2 years old. That is his dream job. I was asked by the reporter what I would say to people who feel that individuals with disabilities should work in an individual competitive employment with nondisabled individuals as opposed to working in enclaves with other individuals with disabilities. I explained that an increase in social skills is one of Chris’ goals, and for that, among other reasons, it is very important that Chris is also able to attend the day training and habilitation center Options Inc. I stated that individual competitive employment can be isolating in a different way because employers pay an individual to work and not to socialize. I was not, however, referring to having an issue with Chris’ work situation or being concerned that Chris had not advanced beyond the back of the kitchen. Ironically, T.J. Roberts, the manager and co-owner of the Friendly Buffalo, recently offered Chris additional hours and duties outside of the kitchen. I would like to add that T.J. and the entire staff have been very welcoming to Chris and that our family considers all of them to be friends, not just Chris’ employer.
Also, we have always been proponents of the “new” (2016) law. Many high schools (and transition centers for individuals ages 18 to 21) do not do a very good job of providing work training and experience. Therefore, this law was very much needed. We believe that all individuals, with or without disabilities, should have the opportunity and supports to work in competitive employment. My frustration in 2016 came from the fact that the state seemed to have rolled out the requirements before state staff members were trained and able to provide families (including ours) with the information we needed to proceed while at the same time mandating that we participate in the new program requirements.
I would also like to point out that Functional Industries in Buffalo, Minn., provides Chris’ job coach support for his work at the Friendly Buffalo.
Last, some day training programs/facilities (including Options) do provide minimum-wage employment opportunities in the community (as well as sub-minimum-wage options).
Judy McIntire, Big Lake
Letter writer underestimates urban wildlife, human interest
I had to chuckle a bit at the June 15 letter writer who, referencing the recent raccoon hysteria, suggested that we need to get out more. Many of us in the city do get out a lot and we see a lot. Just this year I have seen deer, turkeys, muskrats, eagles and an osprey that hung out for a week on a small city lake. Also, all manner of migrating waterfowl. Loons — they don’t stay, but they stop by — grebes, seagulls, swans, herons, snow geese and ducks including buffleheads, lesser scaup, teal, mergansers and wood ducks, along with the resident mallards and Canada geese. Also, sandhill cranes fly over. Birds — way too many to list. Less often — fortunately, as the city is really no place for them — fox and coyotes.
In town, out of town, we really are more alike than we are different.
Oh, I almost forgot, raccoons — we see them, too, all the time and, like the letter writer, maybe too many. Although the one that scaled that 20-story building certainly entertained a lot of people! None of us has seen that before!
Robert Henderson, Minneapolis