actions or lack of actions by Albany Med concerning the patients
of Dr. Patrick Mroczkowski are reprehensible. Your article
[“When the Doctor Is Gone,” Oct. 7] focused on grief in the
majority, and while there is an issue of grief, the crucial
matter is an utter lack of sensible professional administrative
action on the part of Albany Med. Most importantly, Albany
Med is coldly ignoring patients’ medical needs by effectively
jettisoning them via a “letter.”
Rheumatoid arthritis is not a matter of some aches and pains.
The article failed to make this clear. Rheumatoid arthritis
is different than “common” or osteoarthritis. It never goes
away. It is a chronic debilitating disease that progresses
relentlessly. In moderate to severe cases, it renders one
incapable of walking, dialing a phone, or opening a door,
and leaves one in constant pain.
In the best case, the treatments available today merely halt
the progression of the disease for an indeterminate a period
of time but, more often than not, fail to fully alleviate
the debilitating symptoms. All that treatment can do for moderate-
to severe-level patients is to offer a chance to function
from day to day, if the medications work. Many times
they are less than effective. With this treatment comes a
wide range of pernicious and potentially dire side effects.
The drugs involved are often dangerous, require constant monitoring
by a doctor, and often require regular lab tests.
RA meds cannot be abruptly stopped in the main without significant
and dangerous side effects and consequences. Steroids are
just one example. Apparently for a great number of Dr. Mroczkowski’s
patients, nothing was done to assure that their prescriptions
would be renewed. How is this responsible medicine?
Dr. Venditti, representing Albany Med, is quoted, “Out of
respect, we’ve waited a little bit of time” (before seeking
a replacement)! Respect? Respect for who or what? How is that
“respectful” of the patients who desperately need treatment?
Wouldn’t a proper and responsible course of action have been
to immediately make arrangements with the area’s other rheumatologists
to donate/provide their time, each on a part-time basis, or
to waive their “policy” on not taking certain insurances—so
that no patient would have to suffer, or be turned away from
a private practice? And, to do this until such time as Albany
Med’s “search” succeeds in restaffing their rheumatology practice?
(By the way, their letter failed to mention any such “search.”)
Let’s not even broach the question of why a short time back
Albany Med cut the staffing in the specialty clinics in the
first place, or why when Dr. Kremer left the practice with
other doctors those spots were never filled—creating this
dangerous and troublesome vacuum now.
Why would the doctors in this area who supposedly take an
oath to care for patients not step forward on their own? Why
do so many of this area’s doctors turn away patients whose
insurance doesn’t pay them “enough” (are these doctors broke,
living in poverty, having their homes or cars repossessed?)
Why is there only one doctor who is part-time “covering” for
only some of Dr. Mroczkowski’s patients?
Does Albany Med actually believe that they have so little
responsibility for their patients? Is it appropriate, proper
or even merely professional to discard and jettison patients
in such a manner? (Their offer of “30 days” of ER “care” is
outrageous and so inadequate for so very many reasons—this
is what was in their letter to patients.)
Albany Med should fix this problem and take care of their
patients immediately, without equivocation or delay.
withheld on request
Parick Mroczkowski will be greatly missed not only by his
patients, his students, and the staff with whom he worked,
but also by this area’s rheumatologists, who recognized his
unique gifts. He was known and admired for his scholarship,
his teaching skills, and his abiity to “think outside the
box.” An annual memorial lectureship in his name is being
established at Albany Medical College.
was initially thrilled to see a half-page preview in Metroland
for Chuck Palahniuk’s Sept. 21 event [“Night and Day,” Sept.
16]. But then I read the article. Three quarters of the story
was devoted not to Chuck Palahniuk, but to an imaginary interview?
One in which the author is portrayed as an ungrateful, jaded
snob? Was this done out of spite because you couldn’t get
an actual interview or were you trying to be clever? Just
because his books (take note: fiction) can have offensive
or sensational topics, does not mean that you should assume
and apply offensive tones to a made up interview with the
actual author. I was shocked that you portrayed him as such
an ungrateful wretch when quite the opposite is true. This
space could have been better devoted to say, actually talking
about his many books and accomplishments, or to giving more
details on the event. Or, if you didn’t feel you had anything
nice to say, you could’ve filled up the space with a picture
of the cover of Diary, the book he was touring for.
Random House Publishing
“A Dose of Suburbia” [Sept. 23], we misspelled the name of
the broker for the Madison Theater. Her name is Ann MacAffer,
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