Over the past 30 years I have had the opportunity to observe "at arms length" as Good Shepherd has transformed from a competent but struggling rural hospital into its current position as a high quality modern hospital whose services are not surpassed anywhere.

It is especially upsetting therefore when I read splashed over the front page of the paper that an intruding attorney from the big city can bad mouth the people who work there without offering the hospital an opportunity to respond in this public forum. The attorney can make any kind of outrageous statement or accusation no matter how farfetched or misleading. Meanwhile the hospital is prohibited from defending against this attack due to patient confidentiality.

But the damage is done. The hospital's reputation in the community is tarnished. My compliments to Rick Rice for explaining this in the way he did without divulging anything about the specific case.

I hope your readers can see through the smoke screen and realize that the hospital and the Red Cross are committed to avoiding this kind of unfortunate outcome and are more distressed than the attorneys who are the only ones who will profit from this perverse disease.

Donald Guenther, MD

Pendleton

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