My heart was breaking as I read the horrifying happenings at Broward Children's Center ("Inhospitable and in Denial," Bob Norman, December 3). I send my love and prayers to the families of these children. I cannot imagine going through this nightmare as a parent.
A Children's Center. Just the words indicate fair play and love beyond measure, yet the children who paid the price received none of that. They were abused in the worst sense of the word. They were totally helpless and nobody cared enough to save them.
It is an outrage that there are children who may still be receiving not just inadequate care but care that is a death sentence and are in the hands of those who are in denial. Removing the child, no matter the inconvenience, is the course of action that may ensure that they may live to see tomorrow. Nurses who "get annoyed" when an alarm attached to lifesaving equipment goes off have no business caring for children who are so ill. A reprimand is not sufficient in a case like this, and accountability must be mandatory.
Lynn Marie Noen
Deborah and Her Pomeranian Speak in Support
The article about the Broward Children's Center was one I was definitely interested in because I do volunteer work there with my therapy pet, Nina. I would like to tell you my thoughts about the facility. The nursing staff-to-patient ratio, when I am there on the weekends, seems to be quite low, perhaps two to one. The equipment is state-of-the-art, and the patients, who are often very, very ill, are on respirators. Their movement is minimal, they are deformed, they are on feeding tubes. They are immobile, unaware, disoriented, and unable to communicate, yet are all treated with respect, kindness and love!
Volunteers are encouraged to visit the patients on a regular basis, and tactile, sensory stimulation is encouraged by the recreational therapists. The patients are all clean, their clothes and rooms bright and cheery, they all have gorgeous handmade blankets, their beds are clean, the children are generally two to a room (except in the nursery, which is full of teddy bears and decorations and is staffed by cheerful, conscientious, loving personnel). There is always music playing and/ or television on. The patients go to school, they go on field trips in a specially equipped van, they socialize and have parties.
When we first visited this facility, I was eager to tell anyone I met how happy I was that my tax dollars were supporting such a first-rate facility. Some of the sickest of the sick are being cared for in a positive environment. I have been doing volunteer work since age 16, when I was a candy striper in a chronic-disease hospital in New York. Most recently I have done pet therapy at nursing homes, with hospice patients, and at Miami Children's Hospital. My observations are valid. The Broward Children's Center is wonderful, and I believe your article needs to be balanced by my observations and those of the staff and relatives of patients.
I hope that if negligence and staffing problems contributed to the death of Jenna Bernardo, then maybe these problems can be solved without tarnishing this facility's reputation. As Jenna's father says, "The world needs places like Broward Children's Center." My Pomeranian and I are proud of our volunteer work at this facility and are proud to be welcome by the involved and dedicated staff and are thrilled to make some little difference in the lives of these sick children, adding to their "world."
Howard Is No Cosell
So Sean Rowe, who couldn't get information from Dan Marino and possibly didn't want to waste time doing research, passed up the opportunity to provide some insight on the Jimmy Johnson-Dan Marino problem ("Chasing Danny," November 12). He chose not to go with Johnson, who would have been available for voluminous material, and overlooked the real issue -- JJ and Marino -- while trying to focus on Marino's private life.
Dan Marino may not be able to throw as far as some or as accurately as others, and he may not be as mobile. But he has no peer as a leader. His contagious confidence when the chips are down, his ability to inspire his teammates, is extraordinary and unequaled.
Jimmy Johnson says his style of football will win. Without greatly superior talent. I have my doubts, and here is why: Telling your opponents what you intend to do and then ramming it down their throats and doing it is from a bygone era. Plus it's stupid.
But the biggest problem goes deeper. Our country loves to bash its leaders, and many of our talented, successful leaders do not know how to handle and even refuse to believe in the rare individual phenomenon. JJ is so awed by Marino's accomplishments that he is incapable of inspiring Marino to more greatness. Instead his ego feels threatened, so the passing game is de-emphasized, the hurry-up offense is scrapped, and Marino's leadership is further diminished by removing audibles.
Johnson's ability as a coach is unquestioned. His Super Bowl rings scream what a great coach he is. But the naysayers are growing more numerous.
Howard G. Kaufman