The decision of the jury in "Doctors found liable in death of teen at ACH" is a disgrace to the judicial system and the medical profession.

First of all, the $740,000 that was awarded to the mother of the girl who overdosed affects all of us; everyone who sees a doctor pays for a portion of their malpractice insurance. Frivolous, unnecessary lawsuits like this one increase the costs for all of us.

Why do I say it was unnecessary? Logically, it is not fair or just to hold doctors responsible for treating a patient when given grossly incomplete information.

The doctors in this case could not have known about the girl's illicit drug intake (due to the fact that "toxicology tests cannot be performed at the hospital"). For what reason would anyone hold them responsible for facts to which they had no access?

The doctors were trying to save her, and they did everything in their power. As thanks, they are sued — successfully — and their reputations suffer.

Morally, it is outrageous to me that the doctors have to take responsibility for the girl's poor choices, and the mother's grief. — Magen L. Fong, Medford

The state funding levels for Oregon's community colleges was no "windfall." The word "windfall" refers to an event that is unexpected.

The funding for community colleges has been a very active discussion for months. Initial estimates were $471 million, which is what the Tribune reported. The State Board of Education requested $529 million. The governor budgeted $483 million. The co-chairs of the Ways and Means Committee dropped that number to $458 million.

All of these changes created different scenarios in each of the 17 community colleges. The reason the $500 million result was attained is due to a great deal of work by college administrators, unions and legislators working together to bring better education to Oregon's citizens.

Contrary to the headlines in the MT, this level of funding was not an accidental event that simply happened. The colleges remain underfunded. The burdens of post-educational debt still haunt our students.

Oregon's business and industry need additional investment in our work force to stay globally competitive. The work is not completed, and further investment in community colleges is a foundation that will significantly improve Oregon's future. — Paul Fisher, Ashland, president, OEA Community College UniServ Council

The lack of affordable health insurance and health care in America presents a more clear and present danger to our citizens than terrorist threats.

Please write to your congressman with an urgent request to make the passage of HR 676 mandatory this year. America must make health care available to every citizen of America, abolish health insurance companies and regulate drug companies the same way we regulate energy companies.

The rights of our ordinary citizens to have affordable health care is more important to the well-being of America than all of the political witch hunts currently wasting our time and money in Washington. — Carolann Hennen, Southern Oregon Health Care Action Committee, Medford

I just returned from Eugene and was amazed that I could buy regular unleaded gas just off the freeway in Creswell for $2.93 per gallon. Even in Canyonville, it was $3.09 per gallon.

My husband travels to California via Interstate 5 on a regular basis. Prices at freeway stations there are $2.99 and $3.05.

Why are Medford gas stations able to continue to get away with charging the highest prices in the state? Sounds like price fixing to me. — Donna Kincaid, Phoenix

Let me suggest a book to our readers by Michael Oren, "Power, Faith and Fantasy: America in the Middle East: 1776 to the Present" for those who are bewildered by the foreign policy our country has undertaken in the Middle East.

Our historical actions in that part of the world have often been capricious; however, we do seem to follow a common theme. — Earle Sloan, Ashland

I just had to have $2,000 worth of dental work. My son just got six stitches in urgent care. He has a cavity.

I am in need of additional dental work. I am out of pocket for all these medical expenses at once.

I ask: How am I possibly able to pay for medical insurance when I'm cutting into grocery money and daily living expenses just to handle the present medical necessities? — Debra Dresbach, Jacksonville

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