Readers respond

Feb. 1, 2009

Letters to the editor

Readers respond

E-newsletter boo-boo

Just an FYI: In the December 2008 online issue, in
your article, “MRSA clone in Columbia,” the country “COLOMBIA”
was misspelled! To the writer and the proofreader, I guess this error
slipped through the cracks. I am a native of Colombia and proud of it!

—Luz Catalina “Cathy” Jimenez-Eversman

Fairfield Medical Center Lab

Lancaster, OH

Editor's note: Thanks for bringing this error to our attention. Our apologies, since there
is nothing worse than insulting people by misspelling their names or their
cities and countries of origin.

Answer to 'seeking equipment'?

This is a fellow who sells medical equipment at a large
discount on eBay: Cliff Godlevsky (pre-owned medical equipment); eBay
seller: budgetmedical; [email protected] . He has great service
and prices, and is easy to work with. I highly recommend him and his
services. Good luck.

—Terri McDowell

Olean, NY

Editor's note: In our January 2009 issue (p. 9), we printed a request from a Milwaukee
physician seeking a used chemistry analyzer either for purchase or by
donation. Thanks to Reader Terri McDowell for taking the time to respond.
The doctor has been notified of this information on her behalf.

Naming names for unified agency

The recent arrival of the long-awaited news of an
agreement between the organizations — the ASCP Board of Registry and the
NCA, in particular — to develop a unified credentialing agency for the
purpose of certifying laboratory professionals is heartening and very
welcome by many, if not all, lab professionals. This is, understandably,
only a starting point with much work to accomplish before the benefits of
the unified credentialing agency can be reaped by all lab professionals.

In light of this endeavor, I would like to suggest for
consideration a new name, “American Board of Laboratory Medicine,” for the
new agency. It will be an honor for lab professionals, irrespective of their
level of education and area(s) of interest/specialization, to be called
“board certified” as are their peers in other healthcare arenas.
Furthermore, board certification — whether achieved by passing an
appropriate level of examination (for newcomers) or by a “grandfather
clause” (for those already certified by currently existing certifying
agencies) — hopefully, will generate the well-deserved and long-overdue
respect, prestige, public awareness, and appropriate salary increases for
them for their invaluable contribution to the healthcare of the patients
they serve day in and day out.

The new agency should be able to board certify individual
practitioners at various levels of education and achievement, and in various
areas of the lab profession. I encourage others in the lab profession to
bring all of their ideas to the attention of the organizations involved in
developing the new agency. We would all like to support the existing
agencies in their efforts, with the hope that the creation of the new agency
will not be an undesirably long process.

—Gene Gulati, PhD

A Laboratory Professional from Philadelphia, PA

Editor's note: Go to
www.nca-info.org/pdfs/NCA_specialreport_2008.pdf 
or
www.ascp.org/HomePageContent/Features/MajorLaboratory
CertificationAgenciesReachAgreementtoUnite.aspx

 to learn more.

Disappointed with the details

I am disappointed with the article, “A re-energized
debate on stem cells” [December 2008, p. 36]. I have come to expect
ambiguity, bias, and ignorance relating to this subject in the
mainstream media but not in a “scientific article.”

The problem is the use of the term “stem cells.”
There should always be clear delineation between “embryonic stem cells”
(EST) and “adult stem cells” (AST) to prevent confusion. When the author
used the example of the trachea transplant, it is obvious to the
scientist that AST were used, but the only explanatory statement was a
quote: “This does not spell the end of EST.”

The author also stated that there is a current ban on
“stem cell” research in the United States, which is patently untrue.
There is a limit on EST to the 70+ lines currently available, and the
limit is federal money only. Only about one-third of the available EST
has been thoroughly explored for its “potential,” not because of lack of
money but because of lack of results. There are more than 70 medical
conditions being successfully treated with AST. The ambiguity of the
statement, “the stem cell network is investigating the potential of stem
cells” is appalling.

Keep up the good work on a great publication.

—Name Withheld by Request

Editor's note: The author has been asked to send her research material so that we can
address the letter writer's concerns with more substantial information
than presently exists in file.

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