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Apology issued for use of phrase
Letter to the Editor
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Published: 9/17/2007 6:01 AM

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My use of the phrase "organs were procured," recently, has caused some confusion and concern and, most unfortunately, pain.

The statement was used in the online version of a Daily Herald article on Sept. 5. This is the terminology used by agencies and others involved in organ and tissue donation when organs are obtained by donation for transplantation and recipient use. This is most readily evidenced by the name of the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations, a national organization dedicated to ethical organ and tissue donation. It may be jargon, but it is the correct terminology in these instances.

I apologize that the use of this unfamiliar term created concern and pain for the family of this individual who died tragically. The word "procured" was used without any intent to denote the illegal, and unethical, action of buying or selling organs that has happened in other areas of this country and elsewhere.

I and the Lake County coroner's office strongly support organ donation and celebrate the lives that organ donation is able to save.

Again my apologies to those who may have been offended.

Richard L Keller, M.D.

Lake County coroner

Waukegan

Kirk votes against district's interests

Recently, the Patent Reform Act of 2007 (HR 1908) was voted on by the U.S. House of Representatives (Roll Call No. 863; 110th Congress, 1st session). It was to amend title 35 of the U.S. Code.

The Congress passed this legislation. Our congressman, Mark Kirk, voted against this legislation.

Lately, patent law has been widely seen to stifle innovation rather than encourage it. Far too many frivolous patents have been filed as a means to unfairly limit competition.

Pharmaceutical companies have especially been at fault for trying to extend their patents with minor changes to their branded medicines.

This legislation would be a first step in setting up procedures to make it easier to review and challenge such patents. I guess that I should not be surprised that Kirk voted against this legislation. Employees of pharmaceutical companies were his eighth highest contributors in his 2006 race (source: opensecrets.org).

Clearly, it is time for a change. We need someone who will look out for our community's interest.

Jack Strom

Highland Park

Folding bike ideal for commuters

I was pleased to see that "Cycling commuters have right idea" when I read the editorial page recently. It would be good if more people realize the benefits of bicycle commuting, which are several.

In addition to the ones listed in the piece, bicycling can help relieve traffic and parking congestion.

However, many people work too far from home to commute all the way by bike. There is also the problem of the rider sweating, which may spoil work clothes or make the rider feel self-conscious when dealing with others.

A potential solution to these problems was overlooked in this otherwise well-written piece. This is the "folding bicycle," which typically takes just a minute or less to change between its ridable and folded states. A bicycle that folds can be brought on buses, rapid-transit trains, and placed easily in the trunk of a car or taxi. If the folded bicycle is enclosed in a bag, it is legal on Metra at any time, on any train. This means that anyone who lives within a mile or two of a Metra station and works within a similar distance of another station can combine the benefits of both forms of transportation. Bagging the folded bike adds perhaps another minute to the process.

I have ridden a folding bike in this "multi-modal" commuting style for over five years. In addition to all the other benefits, my bike has literally paid for itself since it takes the place of a shuttle bus at the downtown end. When I arrive at work (I am a dentist at UIC College of Dentistry), I am not sweaty or dirty - just wide awake and energized!

As to the issue of coexisting with automobile traffic, I can only recommend that the bicycle rider be familiar with the traffic laws affecting bicycles, maintain the bicycle and its safety equipment properly, and ride defensively and considerately.

Steve Weeks, D.D.S.

Mundelein