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May 11, 2012     Post-Gazette
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May 11, 2012

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Page4 POST-Gr'TTE, MAY 11,2012 S i rn pie TIMES by Girard A. Plante A longtime friend will de- part Boston without a whim- per on July I st. The friend has mostly gone unnoticed, unseen and unheard during six decades of unabated be- neficence and reliable help far beyond one's complex medical needs were might- ily tended to. In late February, the au- gust administrators at Bos- ton Medical Center gathered to break bread and shutter its Spinal Cord Injury Rehab Unit. The impact of its im- pending absence is enor- mous as the future moves along without choices for newly-injured people and others years post-injury. Each person received the best treatment and care for spinal cord injury in Boston and anywhere across New England. A rich resource outgrew its usefulness during this pe- culiar era of lean and mean. Bankers ruling from on high under the guise of CEO and Board of Trustees decimated a nationally acclaimed unit that helped thousands of in- dividuals and their families rebuild broken lives. In fact, the need exists to enhance the shining star that be- came the marketing engine of BMC. Offering hope is being tossed out in the cause of expediency. Gently guiding one through an uncertain future became obsolete. Be- ing there daily to reroute a semblance of normalcy after a life-changing event is in- stead steered towards the bottom line. Wisdom has never looked worse. Dr. Ravin Davidoff, the Chief Medical Officer at BMC, made a startling rev- elation in the Feb. 26 th edi- tion of The Boston Globe: =The decision was not moti- vated by immediate financial concerns, he said, noting that the program does not lose money." Whoa! As a member of the BMC- affiliated Community Spinal Cord Injury Advisory Board, I attended the April ii th meeting in the South End hospital's newly renovated 19 th century building that included Dr. Davidoff and two of BMC's top administrators. Peculiarly absent was CEO Kate Walsh. True to character the re- cently minted chief also re- fused to meet with a woman who simply desired to ask her the rationale for closing the SCI Rehab Unit. The prominent Boston-based dis- ability rights activist has had a vested interest in BMC's SCI Rehab Unit ever since she rehabbed there 27 yeats ago after sustain- ing a high-level injury. But no, a phone call will do, Walsh replied. Citizens living with spinal cord injury are outraged by BMC's administrators' mis- guided decision. Some of them reside in close proxim- ity to BMC. They thrive from the treatment and care and excellent education they re- ceive at the only SCI Rehab they've known. Because they lack resources they're the least likely people to have options to visit other rehabs. A decade ago, Boston Medi- cal Center replaced Boston City Hospital. Their mission has for 113 years answered the clarion call to serve the unserved, underserved, un- insured and underinsured. BMC's tag line "Exceptional Care. Without Exception" is now a ruse. The administra- tors believe it best to exclude the population of residents living with spinal cord injury in Boston's South End and its environs. Some folks with spinal cord injuries created The Decision as a moniker akin to a creepy thriller straight out of Hollywood. Boston Medical Center is not Holly- wood oozing with drama re- plete with a cast of charac- ters created to play roles of cheap humor, dastardly deeds or feigned heroism. It is reality. The characters are real- life human beings whose lives are turned upside down. And the stars are the 'people who superbly treat and care for their newly-in- jured patients. They're well- trained and highly skilled RNs, personal care aides, physical therapists and oc- cupational therapists. The high-octane team in- cludes physicians specializ- ing in the complex world of spinal cord injury. They're rigorously trained and must be certified. Then there's the Supporting cast being educated and receiving hands-on training at the world renowned Boston Uni- versity School of Medicine. The Agency for all your Insurance Coverages Richard Settipane AUTO HOMEOWNERS TENANTS COMMERCIAL Experience makes the difference SPECIALIST in RESTAURANT and BUSINESS POLICIES CALL TODAY FOR YOUR QUOTE 617-523-3456 - Fax 617-723-9212 1 Longfellow - Place Suite 2322 - Boston, MA 02114 Conveniently located with Free Parking Sadly, all of them must go elsewhere. Training the next generation of physi- cians to specialize in spinal cord injury at BUSM will cease, too. At that April 11 th meeting, I listened to three adminis- trators of one of the oldest and largest hospitals in Boston's vast and richly his- toric medical establishment attempt to explain away their decision to shutter an in-patient unit that works! They came well- scripted. But their hack- neyed explanations failed miserably. They looked like politi- cians. They definitely did not fool the members of the Advisory Board with spinal cord injuries who bore in with piercing questions and right-on biting statements as only we can. Two doctors who serve on the Advisory Board laced the administra- tors with blistering com- ments. Their words proved powerful because rarely do doctors criticize each other -- particularly not in front of 20 peoplel After the meeting con- cluded, I bid 'good evening' to four fantastic women who will lose jobs they capably held a collective seven de- cades. And while strolling across BMC's campus, dot- ted with a mix of newly-built shiny glass structures and 19 th century red brick build- ings that warmly welcomed the ill and sick citizens and soldiers and proud new par- ents from another era, the balmy breezes of spring and scent of the ocean refreshed me. Suddenly, emptiness that only death of a loved one brings, hit me. Humanity is in decline in our throw-away society. The honor roll of integrity and recognition for a rock solid work ethic is fading. Such irreplaceable resources are easily expendable. The lean and mean business dealings of layoffs so the head honcho can increase revenues for his/her friends. Don't expect to pay your respects at BMC's SCI Rehab Unit's wake and funeral. Not even those time-honored rituals received consider- ation for the July I st death of a 60-year-old Boston gem. Remember Your Loved Ones The Post-Gazette accepts memorials throughout the year. Please call 617-227-8929 by Sal Giarratani Setting the Record Straight Many readers of my "Thinking Out Loud" column have accused me of being overly both Republican and really conservative. I am neither a registered Repub- lican nor a far right conser- vative. Growing up I lived in a Democratic household. My father was a conserva- tive Democrat until George McGovern and the 1972 presidential race when he started voting Republican. My mother's side of the fam- ily was all liberal Democrat. My brother ended up being a very conservative Republi- can while I became a self- identified Reagan Democrat who often votes but not al- ways for Republicans. Back in my first foray in politics during the 1960 cam- paign when Richard Nixon and Jack Kennedy ran against each other, I re- member helping to organize a group of 10-to-12- year olds. We made up homemade signs and did a neighborhood walk-thru for Kennedy. Com- ing from Boston's Ward 8, we had politics in our blood from birth. We did however slightly look like the "Little Rascals" but we weren't fool- ing around. To buttress my claim to Democrat status, I also supported Lyndon B. Johnson when he ran against Republican Barry Goldwater when I was 16 years old and Hubert Humphrey over Richard Nixon when I was 20 and still too young to vote. In 1972, I had trouble when the McGovernites took over the Democratic infra- structure and have many times voted either Republi- can or Third Party in presi- dential races. I liked Reagan twice, Nixon once with a clothespin, Dukakis once, Gene McCarthy once and fi- nally, Ross Perot. Oh, yeah, I used two clothespins twice for George W. Bush. My first political campaign was for Frank Bellotti when he ran for governor in 1970 when I was 22 years old. Over the past 40 plus years, I have worked for far more Democrats than Republi- cans. This year like 2008, I am troubled. I did vote for John McCain simply be- cause he wasn't Barack Obama which is the worst of all reasons to choose a presi- dent but what else could I have done under those dire circumstances? This year, former Gov. Mitt Romney was my least favorite Republican running for president in the GOP pri- maries and once again faced with the Obama alternative, I am caught between a rock and a hard place. If Ralph Nader were to run again, he might actually get my vote finally. Meanwhile, as far as my core values go. I believe the minimum wage is currently too low. I'm not a supporter of additional tax breaks for the rich. Republicans call them "job creators" but the only thing most of these rich executives are thinking of aren't us but lining their own pockets with more wealth. When I think of Romney, I think of Bain Capital, I think of tax-free investments. Keep moving, no altruism here[ You can't run government solely like a business because the bot- tom line in government is the well being of its citizens and not making as much money as you can. Someday, we might get a real candidate who really understands what America stands for and has the know- how to reach that goal. Meanwhile, most of us are faced with the prospect of voting for the lesser of two evils because when we do that, we are still choosing evil, aren't we? , T@Jl @00LID, IOHU , 781 286 CASH Per Ounce. 24K . . [o We Buy Diamonds, Gold and Silver lewelry'cL We Buy Gold and Silver Coins j r  Je. 0,,1 345 Broadway, Revere Serving the Community for 33 Years Hours lO-5:30 pm every day. Saturdays until 3:30 pm NORTH END WATERFRONT NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL MEETING CANDIDATE NIGHT Meet the residents that are running for election. Monday, May 14, 2012 7:00 PM Nazzaro Center Election to be held on May 19 - IO:OOAM-2:OOPM All residents are welcome to attend. Your vote counts.