Letters to the Editor

Readers write about consumer culture in the US, pitfalls of plastic surgery in Mexico, and the right-to-dry movement.

Departing from a consumer culture mentality

I think that the Aug. 22 article, "Fashion industry gives rise to a 'disposable culture'," is right on. The article alludes to the fact that the expendable money-driven mind-set has penetrated all aspects of US culture.

The causes and factors are multiple. Post-World War II, the robust economy provided more purchasing power than ever and consumer product manufacturing increased. Later, as women began to work and two-income families became the norm, more disposable income was generated. Shopping malls proliferated, and consumerism spiraled upward. In the US, there are too many cars that use too much gas. We are accustomed to a disposable consumer lifestyle. Severe cutbacks are necessary for the sake of the health of the planet. We will not be able to solve global warming by just using compact florescent light bulbs. It will require winding down the consumer culture. It's not a sustainable lifestyle for the US or the rest of the world.

Donald Dickson
Mexico City

Pitfalls of plastic surgery in Mexico

The Aug. 2 article "Americans head to Mexico for plastic surgery" failed to mention the potentially dangerous side effects of surgical vacations. Some procedures require long-term follow-up appointments for more than a year. Many of the follow-up appointments occur in the first 30 to 60 days after the operation. It is doubtful that many of these vacationers are hanging out with their doctors in Mexico for two months to get all of the medical care they require. Also, flying after an operation may increase postsurgical complications.

Who is going to care for these patients when they return to the US? And if the results of the surgery are disastrous, where are these patients going to turn? Plastic surgeons in the US, with the soaring costs of medical malpractice insurance rates, are apprehensive about taking on the mistakes of other doctors on, particularly those who practice outside the high standards of medical care of the US.

In my practice, every month we get three to four phone calls from patients who had medical procedures in Mexico or South America. The doctors who release these patients just days after a major surgical procedure give them our name and tell them that they have a relationship with our surgeon and they can follow up with us should there be any problems when they return home. These patients are calling us for their complications and postoperative care. The problem is, our office has never heard of these doctors. The article should have addressed the negative consequences that can occur when having these procedures.

Michelle Frenzel
Patient coordinator
Chicago

The right-to-dry movement

I was so happy to read the Aug. 24 article "As an energy-saver, the clothesline makes a comeback," about all those others who support "the right-to-dry" movement. When I was house-hunting, I stipulated that I wanted to live where I could have a clothesline. To me that spoke volumes about the neighborhood. Thirty years later I am still living and hanging out my clothes at the same address in an old, established part of Morgantown, W.Va.

My neighbors include academics, doctors, and lawyers – quite a few are clothesline users as well. The benefits of hang-drying clothes far outweigh the aesthetic issues that some people may have with seeing clothing lines around the neighborhood. Such a sight should be praised.

Alice Frost
Morgantown, W.Va.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Any letter accepted may appear in print or on our website, www.csmonitor.com.

Mail letters to Readers Write and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to (617) 450-2317, or e-mail to OpEd.

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