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Vietnamese Physicians and Trust in the Medical Profession

September 01, 1985

In regard to the story "Pain Lingers in Community After Arrests of Viet Doctors" (Aug. 25):

I am appalled! I am shocked at your warped point of view of the situation. I am a student at UC Irvine, and I am applying for entrance to medical school in the fall of 1986. When I originally heard about the Vietnamese physicians allegedly defrauding Medi-Cal, I was appalled. Not because they were Vietnamese, but because they were doctors. When something like this happens it damages the public's confidence in the medical profession.

As I started reading the article I was very sympathetic toward Dr. Vo Thuong because I got the impression that he had been an innocent bystander, not actually one of the doctors investigated, and he had suffered from the unfortunate publicity. But as I read further, I was shocked to discover that Dr. Thuong had, in fact, pleaded guilty to the charges!

I became more appalled at the sympathetic attitude you took toward the doctor. That Dr. Thuong had " . . . so few patients and . . . legal bills in excess of $100,000 . . . " seemed to be your main concern, not the fact that this doctor had violated the public so knowingly. You took the attitude that this whole incident was brought upon these doctors because they were Vietnamese, not because they had done anything wrong.

I feel that, regardless of race, any doctor (or other professional for that matter) that abuses public trust and commits such a callous crime should be punished to the full extent of the law and should not be empathized with just because they happen to be a member of a minority.

JEFFREY R. JENKINS

San Clemente

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