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A letter from a reader about the Frist Campus Center

March 20, 2002

I apologize for being critical, since I am only obliquely associated with Princeton, as a widow and a fiancee. However, on the President's Page of March 13, the statement "…the only complaint I hear about Frist is that it needs to be five times bigger..." bleats for comment.

Other than the name, there is no mention of the source of money to build the center. Did it not come from profits made by the founder of HCA? Those who believe that this money resulted from "efficiencies" in the medical system should look more closely. They will see outstanding doctors with the value of experience, not to be found in their young successors, being forced into early retirement, in some cases financially devastating their families. They will find excellent, . experienced nurses, exhausted and frustrated to the point of tears, because they are unable to give proper care to the increased number of patients for whom they are now responsible. (Most of the new regime does not know the difference between "treating" patients and "caring for" patients.) And, of course, they will find the patients affected, who are prematurely forced out of hospitals, an act which has, in some cases, resulted in preventable death, as well as those who arrive at the hospital seriously injured, and die because the hospital administrator decided to save money by eliminating the specialist needed to save them.

The long-term effects of this bleeding of money from the medical providers and transferring it to corporate executives and Wall Street investors include the results of the reduction of funds to teaching hospitals, effects which are seen now only by those directly involved. Alas, people in the future will never realize that their or their loved one's life could have been saved if our medical system bad continued its path before "managed care," which is really "restricted care" and "managed money." The physician's compassion, eloquently espoused in the Hippocratic Oath, has been forced into a position subservient to profit.

These medical care providers are the individuals who paid, are paying and will continue to pay the price for the elite of Princeton to delight in their campus center.

Martha Lewis w’51
Bethesda, Md.

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