Letters 2005 2005
Reed welcomes letters from readers about the contents of the magazine or the college. Letters must be signed and may be edited for clarity and space. Our email address is reed.magazine@reed.edu.

remembering jerry barta
From Graham Ross '80

Sorry to hear of Jerry Barta's passing. [see article. ed] Here's a memory of mine... Jerry Barta was a big lovable teddy bear who ran the sports center with a big heart and a big voice and lots of bluster. The funniest thing I remember about Jerry was the swimming pool. I liked to swim, and thanks to the P.E. requirement I was a certified lifeguard, swimming instructor, kayaker, and a water polo player by the time I was a junior. This was in the waning days of long-haired young men, and Reed still had plenty of them. I was one. Jerry was absolutely sure that long hair was messing up the filter system. To see him march up and down the side of the pool yelling at swimmers, trying to enforce the swim cap rule without getting wet, was always a delight!

more on medical malpractice
From Richard Daehler-Wilking '73

I would like to comment on the article "The Medical Malpractice System and Tort Reform" by Carl M. Stevens '42 in the November 2004 issue of the alumni magazine. Dr. Stevens says, "...on the premise that efficient markets map relevant preferences into market performance, our preferences as consumers of medical care should be decisive for the outcome of the tort-reform controversy since we ultimately pay the tab for the medical malpractice system." Later, he states that "...the medical malpractice system imposes only a modest direct cost burden on the medical services sector. In recent years, the national total of medical malpractice premiums has been less than one percent of total personal health care expenditures." I agree with Dr. Stevens that I would be happy to absorb the modest cost of malpractice premiums in my medical insurance bills ...if that were the only effect to the system. However, this argument seems to omit the effect of individual medical malpractice costs on individual physicians, which is considerably greater than one percent of their individual costs. Individual physicians have the right to make rational business decisions just like consumers, and the physicians I prefer are in jeopardy of being driven out of practice for reasons having nothing to do with their professional expertise or conduct.

End of Article
Reed Magazine February 2005