Love and death
To letter writer Zach Sielaff: I understand how you love and want to defend your father, Gerald Sielaff (Letters, 2/22/08; "When Families Have No Redress," 1/25/08).
Your father, who was an emergency room doctor at UW Hospital, made a gross mistake by diagnosing my daughter, Erin Rice, as having bacterial pneumonia and did not provide follow-up communications when the radiologist and cardiologist reported she had critical heart problems, including viral cardiomyopathy.
During the malpractice trial, no medical expert witness on either side said that Erin Rice had bacterial pneumonia. The x-ray showed a hugely enlarged heart, compression of her lungs from the enlarged heart, and heart failure features.
Your father's only supporting medical expert witness, a personal friend, agreed that Erin had an enlarged heart and should have had an echocardiogram and been referred to a cardiologist immediately.Regarding the trial, the jury was correctly judged by Judge Sara O'Brien as not doing its job. The judge overruled the jury result (the first time in her career) because she believed that justice was not served.
Judge O'Brien ordered a new trial. An appellate court affirmed her decision. Your father and his attorney began offering Erin's estate a settlement for her pain and suffering, which was eventually accepted. As you stated in your letter, let the court records show the truth.
Erin Rice was in heart failure caused by cardiomyopathy due to a flu virus. Because of your father's misdiagnosis, all the wrong treatments were applied and the correct ones were not. Because your father made an error, she died. We are still looking for an apology.
Eric Rice, Middleton
Thank you for David Medaris' column on Cheri Maples ("The Path Home," 2/8/08). Cheri is one of the most inspirational people I have ever known. She recently led a retreat for the staff of Domestic Abuse Intervention Services. It was an enriching and powerful experience that helped all of us approach our work with a renewed sense of purpose and mission.
DAIS executive director