Letters

What An Insult

I was insulted by your article “Broken Skull, Broken Heart” (Cover Story, April 22). I was one of the physicians caring for Dorian. The derogatory depiction of his medical care and physicians in particular was in poor taste. Your readers have no idea of the time, skill, care, and interest myself and others had in trying to provide medical, advice, support for him and his family. It is clear he is and probably always was an insecure, angry, and self-absorbed person. Trust, I had no economic gain in his care, and I am unsure I have ever been paid. Someone should have edited this article. He comes across as an immature, careless person. The article does nothing to educate the public about the social, personal, neurologic consequences of brain injury, which are substantial. The Reader missed a great opportunity to help the public understand this endemic problem but settled for a hit job on the medical community.

Name Withheld by Request
via email

Thanks For Sharing

Dorian, your story was one of the best that I have seen in the Reader in a while (“Broken Skull, Broken Heart,” Cover Story, April 22). My brother had a major head injury about 30 years ago, and reading your story and Aimee’s experience during the time you were in a coma really touched me. It also answered a lot of questions I had about why my brother acted the way he did after the accident. Thank you for sharing such an emotional and difficult time.

Laurie Murray
via email

One Mind Changed

I was moved by Dorian Hargrove’s account of his head injury and rehab after a skateboarding accident (“Broken Skull, Broken Heart,” Cover Story, April 22). As the mom of a teenaged skateboarder, his story is my worst nightmare. Dorian states that “if I can persuade one kid to put on a helmet before skating then something good will have come from my misfortune.” I would like him and his wife to know that my son read the article and has told me that it has changed his attitude about wearing his helmet. I believe this story will save lives. Thank you for sharing it, and I hope for continued recovery for Dorian.

Lynn Mariano
via email

Disturbed

I just have a comment about your latest edition of the Reader (“Broken Skull, Broken Heart,” April 22). The front-cover page is so disturbing to me that I had to take the first page off, and every time I look at that, it’s very, very disturbing to have someone’s head, like, cut in half — I don’t know. It’s just so disturbing to me. And it’s not just disturbing to me. I showed it to my coworkers who don’t want to even read that paper because of that cover, and that edition I will not be reading. It’s very disturbing.

Mike
via voice mail

Too Rude For The Kids

Your cover art the last two weeks (“Want to Be Sent Home in Pieces?” April 8, and “Broken Skull, Broken Heart,” April 22) has been too graphic to have in my home. We have small children, and we don’t need yet another source of traumatic imagery for them to see. Please don’t join the neo-barbaric movement that seems to dominate this culture ever since the advent of gangster rap and Middle East terrorism. Yeah, 300 was a great movie, but it shouldn’t be a goal for the new world order. You could have used the photo inside for the cover — the one that shows the effect of the head injury on the young man’s motor skills — instead of glorifying the injury as something heroic that he has endured. It was an accident, not a heroic victory over self-destructive behavior. Please, let’s tone down the cover art so the kids don’t have to see it out in public, so they can still enjoy some peace in this world. Yes, they are going to die someday, but don’t tell them. (That’s just rude.) For God’s sake, let the children play.

Gregory J. Cobb
Point Loma

Just Too Ugly

The Reader cover page continues to get uglier and uglier. Last week’s (“Want to Be Sent Home in Pieces?” April 8) was so bad that I couldn’t even bring myself to take one to bring home. I realize you will not appeal to everyone with your cover stories — you never will — but when the cover is absolutely hideous, my guess is that I am not the only one that opted not to pick one up. Not sure, but my guess is that advertisers would not be pleased to hear that. Of course, maybe you don’t really care.

Lisa
via email

In A New Light

Stowe Biotherapy Medical Oasis in La Mesa was the featured story on 60 Minutes last night. I read the stories that appeared in 2008 by the Reader (“Best Buys,” January 16 and 23, 2008). Would you say that you should revisit your report and shed some light on what is happening? If you think Stowe Biotherapy has duped you, then you owe yourself and your readers a further report based upon what 60 Minutes reported.

Peter Hepburn
via email

Eve Kelly responds: Thank you for your attention to “Best Buys” and for letting me know about the 60 Minutes story. I tried to be very careful in my column not to give credence to (or even include) any claims about reversal of any particular disease because I knew I was not competent to evaluate any such claims. Rather, those columns (and others) were intended to serve as an exploration of the general principles behind a branch of “alternative medicine” — in this case, energy and sound therapy. To my memory, Stowe and I never discussed stem cell treatments. I wouldn’t say that I was duped, because I did not make or repeat any claims about Stowe’s ability to cure disease. But if Stowe is swindling patients, I do deeply regret giving him publicity.

A Family Offended

We, the owners, management, and employees (our “family”) at Indigo Café and Catering in downtown San Diego would like to take a few moments to respond to the recent review of our restaurant in the April 15 issue conducted by Ms. Naomi Wise. We found this review to be offensive, inaccurate, and unprofessional.

Before attending to the multiple mistakes made by Ms. Wise regarding our California-Cajun menu options, we would first and foremost like to address the offensive tone and culturally sensitive content featured in Ms. Wise’s critique. Her review began with an assumption — that upon first glance, our cook “looked more likely to be from Nuevo León,” Mexico, “than from Nuevo Orleans,” but she “didn’t yet lower [her] expectations.” Is this comment necessary? What does ethnic background have to do with cooking abilities? Moreover, it is impossible upon first glance to tell the ethnicity or cultural backgrounds of any San Diegan, and this cultural stereotype is neither appreciated nor taken lightly by our staff or our regulars. Although Ms. Wise does suggest that “good cooks can easily learn other cuisines,” it is inappropriate and borderline racially discriminatory to suggest that ethnic background can be determined by looks alone, and therefore that any expectation of food quality should be lowered or questioned. Our staff is highly trained in the art of California-Cajun cuisine, and our cooking staff has taken personal offense to the judgments asserted by Ms. Wise.

Ms. Wise also felt comfortable making several corrective suggestions regarding our menu selections. We stand behind our food 100 percent and have operated for ten years within the San Diego community with great success. Never on our website, nor in our restaurant, do we claim to offer authentic Louisiana cuisine, nor authentic Creole, nor authentic Cajun. Rather, we pride ourselves on our ability to offer a California-Cajun-inspired menu, one that celebrates the delicacies passed along through Louisiana recipes and culture. By definition, the word “Creole” (coming from the Latin word Creare) means “to create.” Creole food is the creation or evolution of cultures and cuisines that have inspired recipes from the South for decades, and we in California continue to “create.”

Ms. Wise also states that “somebody got their recipes crossed,” and we are afraid that has been Ms. Wise! Our jambalaya is tomato-based, made with thick Andouille sausage, the description that Ms. Wise gives of our gumbo; and our gumbo is roux-based, the description Ms. Wise gives for our jambalaya. We do not prepare our jambalaya with a roux base, nor do we prepare our gumbo with a tomato base. We understand that everyone has different and unique food preferences; however, Ms. Wise was clearly confused which items she was in fact critiquing. These were not her only mistakes — our Cajun Pesto Pasta does not feature “shrimp” nor any type of seafood, nor does it contain “mozzarella” (rather, Parmesan cheese), a claim made by Ms. Wise; we do not serve 1000 Island dressing on our Po’ Boy Sandwich (1000 Island contains relish, our homemade sauces do not); we do not feature a “chipotle aioli,” rather a chili aioli made from scratch.

Calling out our staff’s professional experience, specifically our owners’, by questioning “have the owners never heard of cookbooks? For a few bucks’ investment, the kitchen could get some education” assumes that our owners are inexperienced and uneducated. Rick Trevino, owner and chef, is a graduate of the San Diego Culinary Institute, and his outstanding talent and creativity earned him the Peter Metz Award — clearly he has read a cookbook or two. While we do not argue that each individual maintains their own food preferences, we strongly stand behind our expertise and our recipes and believe that each one, upon critique, should be reviewed professionally.

Given the current economic climate, when “mom and pop” businesses strive to bring in new business, we cannot help but assume that the harsh tones in the article were meant to hurt both our employees and our business. We question whether Ms. Wise, having accumulated a bill that included seven mixed drinks and a bottle of wine, was qualified in her judgments to write such a mean-spirited review. Perhaps her cocktails contained more alcohol than she thought (our sweet cocktails disguise a powerful punch).

The tone, verbiage, and overall connotation of Ms. Wise’s critique were personally offensive to our staff and attacking on many levels. However, despite Ms. Wise’s attempts to paint a negative portrait of our restaurants, our local patrons have responded with generosity and concern. Their utter disbelief that someone with professional credentials and community influence would write this critique has strengthened our bond as a “family.” We appreciate the opportunity to express our feedback and thank you for your time and consideration.

Rick and Tiffany Trevino
Gretchen Vedder
Owners
Indigo Café and Catering

Naomi Wise responds: In today’s climate, any mention of race at all seems to translate instantly into “racism” for those who are looking for it. Hell, everybody knows that in San Diego, Latinos make up most restaurant kitchen staffs at every economic level, and as I mentioned in that review, any good cook can master another cuisine. (Off the top of my head, I’ll cite Tijuana-born Damaso Lee, famed for his Italian cooking at Trattoria Acqua.) Only, somebody’s got to teach them, to make that happen. (Whereas, if the cook behind the counter were a born Louisianan, s/he wouldn’t need any instruction from the boss to correct the cockamamie recipes that shaped the food we ate there.) I’ve spent a lot of time in Louisiana (mainly New Orleans, but also some in “Cajun Country”), eating happily, and have been cooking this cuisine at home for some 30 years. (I also collaborated with “Queen Ida” Guillory, zydeco accordionist, on her cookbook for Prima Press, Cookin’ with Queen Ida.) The essential problem at Indigo is that almost nothing has the authentic taste of Louisiana! It’s fine to do “creative” versions of this cuisine (as, for instance, Susan Spicer does), but Indigo’s dishes seemed deracinated — Louisiana ingredients assembled in very non-Louisiana ways.

Accusing me of being drunk as a skunk doesn’t get you off the hook: even if I had been (and I wasn’t), I had ample doggie bags of every entrée to reheat very gently, retaste at length (at least twice each), and examine visually in a strong kitchen light over the several days after my dinner, before signing off on the review. I don’t want to get into a slapdown here, but normally the taste of a proper dark gumbo roux is a vital component of gumbo flavor, whereas if there’s a roux in yours, it must be a roux blonde, as it’s imperceptible — tomato is dominant. And in two doggie-bag dinners involving the jambalaya, I didn’t spot or taste a whit of tomato — the liquid tasted more like a light turkey gravy. So who should I believe, you or my own eyes and mouth? The best I can suggest is that perhaps we ate there on one of those nightmare evenings that befall all restaurants sometimes, when nothing turns out right.

A Plate Of Cruelty

After reading Ms. Wise’s review of Indigo Café (Restaurant Review, April 15), I have to say that it was one of the most mean, unprofessional reviews I have seen in your publication. I have dined at that restaurant several times. At no time did I ever think I was going to experience a New Orleans–style cuisine. While I do agree that they have some items on the menu that do have a New Orleans theme, it is an American-style restaurant. It has always been a wonderful dining experience. She was so cruel in her review. The article honestly felt like she had a personal problem with the owners. I fully support varying opinions and usually agree with her take on restaurants, but I was shocked at how incorrect she was in regards to the type of restaurant and also how scathing she was.

People who own these smaller restaurants are trying to provide a quality experience at an affordable price during these difficult times. She has the potential to greatly affect these restaurants’ revenue streams. She should, at the very least, make sure she is reviewing a restaurant based on the correct cuisine. It would also be a much better read if she did not sound like such a miserable, bitter person.

Kris Moriarty
via email

Reflection

I would like to say that I liked “Black Elk Speaks” on page 153 of the Reader (April 15). It’s a little shout-out to the Lakota Native American tribe. It was the tip of the iceberg, but it was still nice to reflect on him.

Emerald
North Park

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Comments

"I was one of the physicians caring for Dorian...It is clear he is and probably always was an insecure, angry, and self-absorbed person...He comes across as an immature, careless person."

Dr. Shiny Black Shoes is that you? Must be. You know doctor, (showing my maturity by not typing out your real name), I might be an angry, insecure person, and my judgement may have been off but doctor you forget one thing; I had a traumatic brain injury and I was two days out of a coma. What's your excuse? Maybe I was in better condition than I thought, even with a head injury I could see the type of person you are.

As for the rest of the staff at Alvarado Hospital, they were great. And as for the doctors and nurses at Scripps; they saved my life. The therapists at Sharp; they informed me about my injury. You did nothing.

Oh, and once my insurance handles all of my claims, the check will be in the mail. Buy some new shoes or something, anything to distract people from seeing the person you are. Thanks for the confirmation, doctor.

To Dr. What-an-Insult: Wow, it is totally shocking that you would respond so cruelly to Dorian. Disregarding your strange comment, "I am unsure I have ever been paid", your personal attack on a patient is unprofessional and really, really, unbelievably off the mark. I can't imagine that Alvarado's board would agree that you should have submitted in writing these hurtful accusations. I will write the hospital board and suggest that they evaluate your behavior.

You could have taken the opportunity to apologize to Dorian for any perception that you weren't meeting his needs, and you could have explained why he might have felt that way and how you really felt (well, I guess we do know the latter, now). You, the supposed un-brain-damaged professional, should have been the one to recognize that the wrong chemistry existed between you and your patient. YOU should have helped Dorian to access a physician with whom he felt comfortable.

Having worked inside a hopital as a professional, I know what everyone knows: (1) being a patient almost always has its horrible moments and experiences, and (2) hospital personnel are a mix of the good, bad, and ugly. And sometimes they hate patients on sight, and patients sense it.

Further, everyone knows that doctors don't have the time, nor do many have the personality, to interact with every patient successfully. It is inevitable that the wrong chemistry will pop up between doctor and patient, and part of the doctor's duty is to recognize this and to help redirect the patient.

Shame on you! Sorry, Dorian. You and Aimee don't need this kind of ugliness in your lives. Just chalk it up to living in the real world...LIVING, thank goodness!

Uhhhhhh, what's up, doc?

You know, I am not even sure this is serious--the writer does not demonstrate the kind of intelligence one might expect from the incisive mind of a physician--there is a lot of careless repetition of subjects, as though this person hasn't been that familiar or comfortable with a pen--much less a surgeon's knife.

Dorian has a literacy-challenged enemy of some kind, with extremely poor taste. That's about all you can gather from this--a "hit on the medical community?"

Come on. Wacka wacka, doc!

^ Agreed. And if it is real, repeat: whacked.

In response to 'Doctor' Shiny Black Shoes, your letter in regards to Dorian's article is nothing more than proof of the arrogance that looms above your head. At all times, especially with a recovering patient of severe traumatic brain injury such as Dorian's, I believe a doctor should show compassion towards all patients, this including patients already released from the facility. To even mention not having 'been paid' is a reflection of what your sole motive is in your profession, to make money... to get by with your job and bring home that sadly earned bacon. Your part in this article was minuscule in relation to the bigger picture this article is trying to convey and if you can't get your self to see that, even to just obtain a glimpse of it, then oh well, more accidents and brain injuries for us, more money for you right? Regardless of what the reality was and how you were portrayed in this story, hundreds of lives were saved in the past week that this issue of The Reader was out, and many more will continue to be saved thanks to the courageous effort of the author to write this story. It was hard to read and I could only imagine how hard it was to live it then relive it in words. Thanks for being an inspiration to us all Dorian.

To the comments about the graphic nature of the cover: you wrote in didn't you? Another impact has been made. Kudos to The Reader and amazing job on the photography Aimee.

-Erny C.

RE: What An Insult

ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?

if you really are a doctor, which i suspect you are NOT, i am pretty sure it is some sort of a HIPAA violation to even come here and discuss his patient care...at all. it was his choice to share his ordeal with everyone. and for you to come in here and trash him...HOW DARE YOU?!? why don't you state your name, DOCTOR, so i and everyone else may avoid your services at all costs. doctor, my fat ass. you sicken me.

...and RE: Disturbed:

Seriously? after all this young man has been through and was courageous enough to tell his story, you are "Disturbed" by a photo of his head injury?? where is everyone's compassion? you should be shouting praises that he is alive and giving words of encouragement for him. christ, wtf is wrong with you people? why don't you, like, stop reading the reader, like, write something contructive, like...

the doc is being petty in some ways but

i think DorianH has no idea or empathy for all that medical personal do to save lives and especially his life

his recovery is quite remarkable...but without all that were involved with his care he wouldn't be here to tell us all about it

guess u can tell i worked in hospital 30 years eh ;-)

believe me i've known arrogant physicians i would have like to take out back and horse whipped...but if i needed their specialty because of the type injury i had they could act like horses a*sses all day long and i would have still opted to have them on my case

bless u for ur story Dorian...it was a very brave thing to do ..and a pic too

continued recovery mister and blessing

i hear what you're saying, nan. but i am a nurse too and many times it is a thankless job..don't get me wrong, i don't ever expect thanks, i LOVE what i do and like you, have met many arrogant a**hole "doctors" like this, more than i care to remember..but to come here and complain about a patient when all he is doing is telling his story and trying to heal, inexcusable, inappropriate, unprofessional.. i really do wish he would identify himself so that everyone could avoid being stuck seeing him. just saying.

Nan,

I appreciate the comments, but keep in mind my life was saved by different doctors and nurses at a different hospital. The doctor I had my issue with is the head of the rehabilitation institute at Alvarado, my second hospital after awaking from the coma. He never saved my life and had nothing to do with my rehab.

And trust me, I appreciate everything that everyone did for me. I don't, however appreciate someone just because they are doctor, especially one with a horrendous bedside manner. Just had to clarify. Thanks.

Exactly. Let's not let this blow out of proportion. If you read the actual piece written by Dorian, there is no "hit on the medical community," and actually very little mention of even this doctor. Read the piece in its entirety before you comment.

I agree. Dorian took a dislike to one particular doctor, not the entire medical profession, which he resolved by asking for a change of doctors; he discussed this situation as one part of the whole ordeal he went through. Should he have not talked about it? I think the doctor took on significance due to the circumstances, and therefore I feel it was appropriate to discuss in the article, which Dorian did, with honesty. If nothing else, he has a right to his opinion.

Does the doctor have an equal right? I think perhaps not an equal right to express it: Do no harm. Keep your highly paid trap shut.

I am amazed! Amazed by Dorian’s story, and amazed by the responses to it…

First of all, Doctor Shiny Shoes is the lowest and least that I care to respond to. Frankly, it surprises me that our medical system doesn’t produce more of his ilk. Yet consider the medical educational process that aspiring doctors go through. Most people could not even imagine how tough that is! It’s a wonder to me that anyone can survive it with their humanity intact... That being said, what annoys me more are the ones complaining about the cover. Open your eyes to the reality of life! He had part of his skull removed!! That’s what it looks like, you twits!!!

I'm HAPPY yer alive and recoverin Dorian, and proud to call you friend!

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