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Money and danger

As a hospital staff nurse in Detroit, I want to comment on Jane Slaughter's insightful article regarding nurses working forced overtime ("Nurses strike back," MT, Dec. 13-19). I work with many nurses who, due to financial need, must work overtime. We realize the stress nurses experience in a physically and mentally demanding field. Adding a fatigued nurse into a stressful situation is a recipe for disaster. Potentially life-threatening mistakes can result. There is a nursing shortage and due to decreased reimbursement, hospitals are responding with requiring forced overtime. Nurses find themselves on the front lines to protect patient care. We can follow two paths. We can continue, in silence, to comply with this unsafe practice of forcing fatigued nurses to work overtime or we can take a stand, as the brave Flint nurses saying "enough is enough, and we won't accept this any longer." —Pat Cason-Merenda, Detroit

Heart and soul

Thank you, Keith A. Owens, for writing such a powerful review of my son James’ book, The Language of the Land: Living Among the Hadzabe in Africa ("At the source," MT, Dec. 13-19). He has put his heart and soul into this project and I could tell from his response to your review that it meant a tremendous amount to him. It is so meaningful when someone "gets it" and that is what makes the struggle worthwhile — and you certainly understood the book. I particularly liked what you said about the way the book describes the Hadzabe and their way of life as so radically different from ours, while at the same time focusing on the personalities of the individuals and our shared humanity. I have grown to feel that all the individuals in his book are like family.

A sincere thank you for your work and your understanding of the book. It means so much to James and our entire family. —Mary Stephenson, Detroit

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