Letters to the Editor


Thanks for exposing the Mayo Clinic

The story about Cole left me speechless and shaking ("What's the matter with Cole?" 5/14/2008). Living in the Lyme disease world for the past 12 years, I am very aware of the "good old boys club" found within the medical community. How does it feel to save a life? You need to realize that your strength and honest reporting have not only helped us to continue to fight Mayo, you saved a boy's life. You have saved a devastated family and have given them hope. The Lyme community has been screwed by Mayo. I read a eulogy for a 30-year-old woman who tested positive for Lyme disease but Mayo refused to treat her. You are a hero to us. You had the balls to finally put it in their face. Thank you.

Leslie Wermers, co-director, Minnesota Lymefighter's Advocacy St. Louis Park

Let Cole be a lesson

What an awful story! Having to fight skeptical and blinkered clinicians when you know your child is ill is a sad tale that occurs time and again—we have seen cases like this in Canada, too. The solution is not more litigation—that will not improve the care of future patients—but to make these cases well-known and make them into lessons to be learned by clinicians. Be humble, doubt yourself, listen to your patients, and be open about your mistakes.

Philip C. Hebert M.D., associate professor of family medicine,University of Toronto Clinic Toronto, Ontario

Short and sweet

Hello, I just want to say that the cover photo and story of Cole were really wonderful. That's all. Keep up the interesting work.

Shelly Anderson Minneapolis

Short and spicy

Just read your article on Cole while sitting in Chipotle. Awesome journalism; terrifying story.

Chris Truscott Minneapolis

A contrary opinion

It's a pity you published the one-sided hatchet job on Mayo Clinic in the recent City Pages. Why one-sided? Because no medical organization in its right mind will respond publicly to a case that has "lawsuit" written all over it. Why a hatchet job? Because you knew that and you still pretend that publishing the requisite "we gave 'em a chance to respond" boilerplate makes honest journalists out of your amateur writers. What they should have done is some research on Mayo Clinic's overall record, some balance to show if Cole's case is the norm or an aberration. Or maybe even some hard probing over whether Cole's parents were over-the-top in their behavior. I have no evidence for any of those positions—I didn't write the story. If I had, it would have been done right.

Three generations of our family have used the Mayo. My wife and I had cancer treated there. The Mayo Clinic justifies its reputation daily. Could it be that sometimes human beings, even doctors, make mistakes? Could it be that some medical cases really are hard to diagnose? Could it be that worried parents behave in ways that are kinda crazy themselves? Your story doesn't address any of those possibilities. It's the Cole Haakana all-victim, all-the-time mantra you are so famous for. Sorry job, boyz 'n' girlz. Y'all need to take Journalism 101 over. This time do notes instead of dope.

Larry Frost Bloomington

Cole isn't alone

I just read your story on Cole Haakana and his mother's journey to find a correct diagnosis and treatment for him. Our daughter Grace's story and treatment by the same institutions and doctors you referenced in the article are eerily similar. I would really like to contact Carrie Halvorson and share our experience and eventual diagnosis (made by a doctor in Alabama) with her if possible. I don't know if you would be allowed to share her information with me; but perhaps you could just forward her my email and phone number in case she is interested in talking with me. Thank you so much for writing this story and the accompanying one on our state's status in regards to disciplinary actions against the medical community.

Jean Christiansen Bloomington

Tears from a mother

I would like to express my gratitude for the excellent reporting of Carrie Halvorson's work on behalf of her son. I am a mother of a child with a disability and your article made me stop dead in my tracks and cry and read on. Has Halvorson provided an email address where she is willing to receive notes of support?

Tracy L. Reid Minneapolis

Begging for a way to help

This was a touching and horrifying story. I was just wondering if there's anything anybody can do to help? Is there a fund set up for them? Anything. Please.

Charlie Nielsen Minneapolis

Editor's Note: Those looking for more information on Cole's case, as well as a means of contacting his family, should visit the family's website: