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Freeway Suicide, HMOs

May 09, 1998

Re "Videotape Farewell: 'I'm a Dead Man,' " May 2: The picture of Daniel V. Jones brought tears to my eyes. I understand a little of what he may have felt. I have a chronic pain condition caused by fibromyalgia. My darkest time was when I felt that no one cared and there was no one to help me. I think most of us can bear pain and disability when we feel that others, especially the medical community, care and try to do whatever they can to relieve our suffering.

Unfortunately, most doctors are only concerned with ordering tests and writing prescriptions. Very few want to know about the impact of the disease on your life or your emotional state. There is no soul in medicine today, and this is most evident in HMOs, where profits, not patients, are their main concern. I hope that Jones' dramatic suicide was not in vain and that, perhaps, some changes in medical care will come about as a result of it.

LOIS YUNG

Downey

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I hope that the man who committed suicide because of the way he was treated by his HMO did not die in vain. Denying and limiting medical care is the underlying credo of HMOs. Our society should have the same concerns for HMOs as we do for nuclear weapons and we should all work together to eliminate both of them.

ROBERT M. DAVIS MD

Costa Mesa

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I entirely agree with Karen Grigsby Bates' May 1 column about "news" coverage cutting into children's programming. Aside from the incident she describes so well--the suicide on the Harbor Freeway--young viewers are constantly bombarded with teaser ads for upcoming "news" broadcasts, usually featuring such attention-grabbing items as "Grisly Murders in (fill in the blank)," complete with pictures.

As a parent who works in the media, and who has even done work involving media literacy, I know what to say to my 6-year-old when these words and images invade her favorite TV show. And I'm doubly blessed to have the time to be present when she's watching TV. Think of the thousands of parents who aren't so lucky.

Remember: Television broadcasters are using the public airways in much the same way as airlines use our skies or commercial shipping uses our oceans and rivers. And like these other industries, broadcasters have a responsibility to use them safely. Where is the FCC in all this?

JIM FYFE

Los Angeles

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Why do so many who are bent out of shape over live TV coverage of the tragic freeway suicide April 30 passively accept far more graphic portrayals of violence on so-called entertainment programs? And why do spokesmen for TV stations "deeply regret" that their viewers saw this tragedy as it happened but feel no remorse for subjecting viewers to far more gruesome portrayals of murder and mayhem on a daily basis in the name of entertainment?

ROBERT D. NELSON

Lake San Marcos

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