Letters to the Editor
We welcome letters. Please include your full name, address, and telephone number. We edit all letters. Send them to Letters, Illinois Times, P.O. Box 5256, Springfield, IL 62705; fax 217-753-3958; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
TOO LATE FOR MOM
Thanks for your article about Dr. Alfrey and the transplants being stopped at Memorial [See " Kidney failure," by Dusty Rhodes, IT, Oct. 9]. My mother had a kidney transplant at Memorial in August of 2003. Dr. O'Connor was the surgeon and he was absolutely wonderful and gracious to her and to her family. She was religious about taking her anti-rejection drugs at the right time every day, just as Dr. O'Connor had told her to. When she had to start seeing Dr. Alfrey she was crushed. He just would spend no time with her and not answer questions as he should. Reading your article just hits so close to home. My Mom just knew that there was a reason that Dr. O'Connor left, but she could never get any answers.
You see my Mom died four weeks ago in the ICU at Memorial without Dr. Alfrey even stopping by to try and help save her life. We asked and asked to see him but only at the very end his transplant nurse came by. Dr. Tamizuddin and Dr.Chen (both kidney doctors) did what they could, but she really should have been seen by the transplant doctor. Our family knew if Dr. O'Connor would have been there we would have seen him every day. I am heartbroken that your article came too late for my Mom to read but I am so glad I got to read it and I plan to share it with my whole family.
Memorial needs to wake up and get a new transplant doctor. That is a very important service for our area because Peoria and St. Louis are too far to go when you are that sick and in desperate need of a transplant. I know of one person who totally avoided Memorial due to the lack of new recipients being put on the transplant list. They went to St. Louis and got a transplant last week.
Maybe things will change now that this has been brought out into the open.
TRANSPLANT SAVED MY DAD
Roy Maxfield's story reads very much like my
dad's story [See "Kidney failure," IT, Oct. 9]. He had scarlet fever
when he was 7, it slowly began to shut down his kidneys and when he was 39
he had to go on dialysis. He waited 11 years for a match of a kidney and in
December of 1991, we got the best Christmas present ever. My dad received a
kidney and my whole family received the gift of having my dad around.
I'm 34 years old now, and by all accounts of my dad's health 17 years ago, he should have never seen me graduate high school. Today my dad is 67 and considering all he's been through, he's amazingly healthy. (Of course he listens to his doctors, eats well, doesn't drink.)
Dr. Birtch did my dad's transplant and Dr. O'Connor was his doctor after that. I know my dad really trusted and liked both of them. It's a shame that the transplant program has been suspended. I know firsthand how important their program is to anyone who is in need of a kidney.
About five years ago I had my whole family write anonymous letters to the donor family, just letting them know how grateful we were for their loved one's generosity. I often thought of them and their loss and I just wanted them to know that their loved one saved an amazing man who had a family that treasured him and we would have been permanently broken without him. My family can attest to how important it is to keep people aware of organ donation and I hope that our local program gets reinstated.
DOCTORS NEED TO BE THERE
Being a 35-year survivor and the Memorial transplant program's oldest living recipient, I met Dr. Alfrey and experienced the same bedside manners as mentioned in your article [See " Kidney failure," IT, Oct. 9]. I have not been back since that day. I have known all the doctors and nurses from the program and they never treated me or anyone else like that. They were there for us 24/7, no matter what the problem was. Maybe Dr. Alfrey is an excellent surgeon, but he has to realize that we look to the doctors and nurses of the program as friends and sometimes family, because we have to see them so much after such a life-changing experience. We depend on them to be there when we need them. I have met a lot of doctors in my life, starting after contracting polio at age 2 1/2, and I have only met a couple who I did not like and respect. I have never written to a publication before to complain, but this program is important to me and so many others that depend on it. I sincerely hope that these problems do not shut down this important life-saving program.
While I have not been back to transplant clinic, I am
not saying that anyone else should do the same. As anyone knows who has
known me over the past 40 or so years, I was never known as the model
patient. I have been very, very lucky, so please hang in there and see your
doctor as you should.
William A.Tucker Sr.
THE SOUND OF FREEDOM
The article on the history of Springfield aviation was interesting [See " Springfield aviation makes history," IT, Oct. 9]. However, the caption in the upper right hand corner was incorrect.
In February 1955, the first F-84F "Thunderstreak" arrived at Capital Airport to be flown by the 170th Fighter Squadron. The F-84F was the aircraft when the 170th became the 183d Tactical Fighter Group in October of 1962, and stayed through the first nine years of existence for the 183d TFG.
The aircraft in the caption is an F-4 Phantom and the
183d was the first Guard unit to receive the F-4C in January 1972. It was
replaced by the F-4D in January 1981.
In June 1989 the first two F16s landed at Capital
Airport and was the beginning of the conversion from the F4Ds to the F16s.
May 5, 1990, marked the official acceptance of the F16s to the 183d,
therefore making the 183d a total F16 fighting unit.
I will miss the "sound of freedom" around
the Springfield area.
Illinois Times regrets the error and appreciates the
HARVARD PARK CELEBRATES
Thank you for the engaging, informative article,
"Spirit of Progress: Harvard Park celebrates a century as a working
class neighborhood that still works," by Tara McClellan
McAndrew (Sept. 25). The residents of Harvard Park are proud of its
100-year history and we are honored to have Harvard Park featured in the
best of weekly newspapers. Tara is an excellent writer and we will add her
story to our future.
Harvard Park commemorated its 100th anniversary with a celebration on Sept. 27 at Harvard Park Elementary School where hundreds of current and former residents enjoyed not only a myriad of activities and lively music, but simply the opportunity to be together.
For some celebrants it was an opportunity to visit with classmates whom they had not seen since leaving Harvard Park grade school decades ago. Former teachers attended and recognized former students. One gentleman stopped as he walked into the gymnasium and said: "I played a lot of basketball in this gym." Then, Jack Pfeiffer showed up with a photo of the Harvard Park grade school basketball team celebrating its 1948 Sangamon County Championship. One of the parade marshalls, Carol Vorhees, has lived her entire 71 years in Harvard Park. Clyde Bunch probably knew more current and former residents of Harvard Park than anyone else. And the entire place knew the Humphrey's when they received a Good Neighbor plaque for being just that at 15th and Ash Streets.
As Fletcher Farrar has noted: "The lifeblood of
Springfield is in its neighborhoods. Each one has character, history, good
people — and problems. Celebrating a neighborhood's history
reminds everyone that it is worth preserving…"
On behalf of the Harvard Park Neighborhood Association
Due to a formatting glitch in a national online database, our cover story last week, "Kidney failure," contained an erroneous statistic. We reported that Memorial Medical Center had done only four kidney transplants in the first six months of this year. After publication, we learned that the actual number was 14. Illinois Times regrets the error