Screams of anguish about the high and growing cost of U.S. medical care, followed by loud promises that our finest minds are examining ways to reduce it, repeatedly fail to alter an intergalactic trajectory. I recently participated in an example of why this continues.

An attempt to have laboratory tests completed as ordered by my doctor was repeatedly delayed by outmoded, labor-intensive procedures, including:

•?Reams of paper, including a printed, incomplete lab order;

•?Extensive, redundant computer data entry via scanner and typist;

•?Computer records formatted differently from my insurance ID cards;

•?Use of small, computer-generated, hard-to-read blood vial labels.

A simple task that actually required less than five minutes took nearly 90 minutes, thanks to our nation’s outmoded procedures.

We would do much better if we refused to allow inertia, idiocy and political gridlock to thwart our progress. As long as we cling to our fragmented, duplicative, outmoded medical bureaucracy, we will continue to plunge ever deeper into Third World health-care status.

In Taiwan and France, patients rarely, if ever, encounter such delays, thanks to modern technology not currently used here. Taiwanese and French doctors enter lab orders into the electronic memory of each patient’s medical ID “Smart Card.”

On patient arrival at a lab, the card is read by an electronic reader that shows what tests are to be done and to whom the results are to be electronically distributed.

J. Howard Harding

Akron

Witan and ?its contributions

The Feb. 18 article regarding Witan was enjoyable reading (“Just what is a Witan? Civic group has an idea”). I had never heard of “witenagemot,” but I certainly am familiar with Women In Touch with Akron Needs.

I am a volunteer at the Good Neighbors Food Center in Goodyear Heights. Good Neighbors has provided free groceries to the needy families of the Akron area since 1957.

Each month the Goodyear Heights food pantry helps out 850 local families. I note this because Good Neighbors can only do this because of organizations like Witan.

Witan has provided substantial funds to the Good Neighbors Food Center for many years. Witan’s contributions have helped provide much needed food to families within our community.

Calling Witan a “civic organization” does not convey the tremendous impact it has on our local community through its financial and physical support of local hospitals, shelters, pantries and, of course, organizations that assist children with illnesses and disabilities.

I think our community should be more grateful for organizations such as Witan and all of the hard work of its members.

George Camilletti

Akron

Ambitions of ?the governor

It was amusing to learn that Gov. John Kasich is totally devoted to his job here in Ohio. As for national ambitions, he claims that “putting my family through the meat grinder and all that — no, thank you. No, thank you.”

He appears to have forgotten that he began running for president as far back as February 1999. Poor fellow had to abandon that ambition when his exploratory committee failed in its fundraising efforts.

At the present time, he is playing his Christian card, literally boasting about his biblical knowledge. Has it slipped his mind that on Jan. 11, 2008, he described a police officer as “an idiot” for pulling him over for a traffic violation that endangered public safety. Christian?

Chameleon-like John Kasich may deny any ambition to run for president in 2016, but don’t be surprised if he puts his family “through the meat grinder.”

Celine E. Riedel

Avon Lake