Letters: Respecting Patients' Wishes, Mushroom Memories

Rhode Island Monthly readers weigh in.

“The Tyranny of Low Expectations,” October

In regard to moving older adults from sheltered workshops into the community, I’m quoted as saying “I’m not so keen on it for the older population because those folks, because of their disabilities, they don’t have the capacity to learn nor do they want to.” The lone statement makes me sound insensitive and ignorant to people with developmental disabilities.
My point was that everyone’s capacity to learn diminishes as we age. Compound that learning capacity with a developmental disability, which is further exacerbated by institutionalized care that many of the older adults have received, and those job readiness skills and employment desire are most likely limited for that group.

DAVID REISS
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
THE FOGARTY CENTER, NORTH PROVIDENCE
 

“Excellence in Nursing: Award Recipients,” September

This feature could hardly be more in line with conventional wisdom when it praises Nurse Practitioner of the Year Elaine Hart for “let[ting]” sick old people “gently pass.” But it is important to realize that this is not what all sick old people want. Some sick old people want to be kept alive as long as possible even if they cannot be restored to health. Respecting the wishes of such patients is just as important as respecting the wishes of those who say, “I've lived a good life. It's okay to let me go.”

FELICIA NIMUE ACKERMAN
PROFESSOR OF PHILOSOPHY
BROWN UNIVERSITY, PROVIDENCE
 

“Fungi Fun,” Current, September

This brought back memories of picking mushrooms in Rhode Island. I learned which mushrooms to pick from my father, maybe the greatest mushroom gatherer in the 1950s. As usual, your magazine brought me home again.

FRANK MARCO MANZI
GARDEN GROVE, CALIFORNIA
 

Correction: September’s “High School Report Card 2015” included incorrect SAT scores for Chariho High School. The correct scores are 512 in math and 516 in reading for the 2013/14 school year. Chariho’s ranking, at #9, remains unchanged.

 

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