To the Daily:
Misdiagnosed student sick of University Health Service
My week before Spring Break started out like any other year. I had several hundred midterms to prepare for and a few last minute homework assignments to wrap up along the way. However, what I didn’t foresee was the incompetence of the University Health Service.
It all began on Wednesday, the day of my midterms. I woke up with a fever of 102 and a very sore throat. A few ibuprofens later, I was good to go for my tests. Since my symptoms indicated a textbook case of strep throat, I decided to stop by UHS to get some antibiotics. I set my appointment and dragged myself to the building around noon, only to be incorrectly diagnosed and turned away. The doctor said it was probably a virus, handed me a standard “how to deal with viruses” pamphlet and kicked me out.
I decided to relax and wait until my body won the battle against the virus – UHS knows what it’s doing, right? Wrong. On Friday, I woke up with a temperature of over 103 degrees and a throat that looked like a warzone. I decided to see UHS again, figuring that surely the doctor would concede that I had strep throat and give me antibiotics this time. However, once again I was incorrectly diagnosed and turned away, assured that I had the flu or mono.
It was not until returning home for the break that I finally got antibiotics. It took my local doctor about five seconds to diagnose. I think this is embarrassing for UHS. Streptococcus is an aggressive and potentially dangerous disease if not properly addressed – to deny medication for it so carelessly is a dangerous practice. My advice: If you are sick, go straight to the excellent University hospital.
Column contributes to problem
While I agree with many points in Karl Stampfl’s Monday column (Redesigning the engineer, 03/03/2008) and, moreso, with those raised in former-University President James Duderstadt’s report, I can’t help but think Stampfl’s column works a bit to perpetuate the lack of respect for engineering Duderstadt is trying to remedy.
The thrust of Stampfl’s argument is that engineers need education “not just to tinker, but also to realize the larger effects of tinkering.” While it is important for engineers to be conscientious of the broader context of their work, that isn’t the main issue Duderstadt is discussing. The problem isn’t so much that engineers are making the wrong choices about direction of technology, it is that they aren’t the ones making the choices. It is doubtful that bad technological choices made by engineers match those made by those who studied business, who already benefit from a liberal arts education.
Engineers are increasingly seen as replaceable assets that can contribute little more than technical work, a point of view Stampfl’s column seems to perpetuate, as he implies that engineers are currently ignorant of broader, non-technical issues surrounding their work. Making engineering a graduate degree with an undergrad liberal arts component will give engineers the education to further develop their understanding of the broader impact of technology in the world, but more importantly, will make them better able to achieve positions where that knowledge can be put to use.
Comic offers more than humor
To the “readers up in arms” who wrote Paul Johnson to complain about the cartoon Feng Shui (What is funny?, 03/04/2008): If you rely solely upon the editorial page of The Michigan Daily to satiate your desire for purely comical entertainment (or at least enough that complaining to the editor seemed like a worthwhile use of your undoubtedly valuable time), you might be better served by a different campus newspaper – maybe one that defines its existence as “One Hundred and Eighteen Years of Selling Our Souls for Nickelback Tickets.”
Either way, you need something a bit more suitable for your level of sophistication and social awareness. Johnson correctly noted that we all have a subjective interpretation humor, but he seemed to miss the point in asking – and futility attempting to determine – whether or not Feng Shui is funny.
If it isn’t the intention of the author to provide thoughtful social commentary through a unique medium of communication (in this case, a mildly humorous cartoon strip), Feng Shui should be relegated to the back page or the B-side. The Daily has apparently identified a worth that transcends pure humor and has awarded the cartoon valuable real estate on the editorial page, accordingly.
Government, not University, should insure student health
To the Daily:
Contrary to the assertion in a story before Spring Break, mandating health insurance for students isn’t likely to help students (MSA to push ‘U’ to require insurance for all students, 02/20/2008). I understand how requiring students to have health insurance seems like a good idea. However, I don’t like being forced to buy something to attend the University simply because I exist. If the University or government provides health care for free, that is fine, but to have to pay either a third party or the University’s health insurance plan seems wrong.
Perhaps it would be better if the University offered free coverage to poor students or let students opt out of the requirement. But the argument that having more students in the program will lower the premiums is weak because once things like insurance premiums go up, it is hard to make them go back down. This would be similar to the tuition hike this summer that wasn’t repealed despite funding changes. I just don’t think it would lower premiums.
The only thing that would happen is that students who can’t afford insurance would be forced out of the University because they couldn’t pay. I know it may seem like it’s not that much, but even a $1,000 per year premium can be a lot for some students. The only real solution to this problem is universal health care provided by the government and funded by taxes. Having the University force students to carry health insurance is not a solution. Instead of forcing people to buy something they can’t afford or don’t necessarily want, let’s focus on the real reason why students don’t have health insurance in the first place.