The recent report on my colleagues in the emergency room ("The trauma of dealing with trauma never stops") was intimate and thorough, but I couldn't help but notice the invisibility of a certain role — one that by design is meant to pass unnoticed but is critical in this high-acuity, high-stakes stage: the professional medical interpreter.
Our lack of inclusion is, in fact, most appropriate given that our role is to facilitate understanding and direct communication between providers and patients. Still, it's disappointing that our essential service was not just glossed over but completely overlooked. When 1 out of 5 patients walking through Hennepin Healthcare's doors require language services, we are integral to providing equitable health care.
As interpreters, we must remain true to the message and interpret as precisely as we can, which might mean cursing out a dear friend. Or perhaps we are the first ones to hear of the devastating cancer diagnosis before relaying the shocking news to the patient. No matter the verdict, we have the honor and burden of giving it.
We're a crucial part of the caregiving team and work hand in hand with the heroes of HCMC's emergency room.
Because just like them, it's not just our job, it's our vocation.
Maggie Sweeney, Minneapolis
The writer is a medical interpreter at Hennepin Healthcare.
A playbook for 'reunification'
By coincidence, page A2 and A11 of the Sept. 25 paper were printed on the same sheet. On A11, the opinion page, Zhao Jian, the consul general of China in Chicago, states his case for the peaceful reunification with Taiwan ("Chinese consul: It's not China undermining the status quo"). On A2 was an article about Uyghur Prof. Rahile Dawut and some hundred other academics, intellectuals and writers who disappeared into detention in 2017 ("China sentenced star Uyghur scholar who vanished to life"). It seems she's been imprisoned for life for endangering Chinese national security. Witnessing the present treatment of the Uyghurs by the Chinese and also their actions in Tibet, Hong Kong and Tiananmen Square I don't believe Taiwan could have any hope of peaceful reunification. I think it would more likely resemble Russia's peaceful reunification with Ukraine.
William Voje, Newport, Minn.
Grow up and do your work
Dear Speaker Kevin McCarthy, please start doing your job. Reminder: that job is not to maintain your personal power but to serve the people of the United States. A government shutdown serves no one. Your constant submission to a tiny group of crazies in your own caucus serves no one. Well, no one except you and your desire to remain speaker.
Here is an idea. Work with the Democrats. Compromise. Include items in the budget that they want and get enough votes to keep the government running. This time, don't make it short-term or a continuing resolution. Do the real job.
Dear Democrats: Yes, McCarthy has been a jerk and just started a totally theatrical impeachment process of your president. Yes, a government shutdown would make the Republicans look bad. Certainly, it is highly entertaining, and ridiculously easy, to make fun of these MAGA crazies in the Republican Party. Plus, it is true that McCarthy is letting these unlicensed drivers steer the bus. But we are all going to crash! Get in there and do your job.
There are 435 members of Congress in the House. Reread your oath of office. Please, aren't there at least 218 adults who are willing to do their jobs?
Rochelle Eastman, Savage
A government shutdown will not cost U.S. government workers a dime. It will be a paid vacation, as it has been for every shutdown in the past. Each time the shutdowns ended, Congress passed legislation that compensated U.S. government employees for the days of the so-called shutdown. Now, disruption to the normal flow of necessary work will occur, causing delays. But my immigration clients who now wait 18 months for decisions on their applications to work will hardly notice another 10 days' delay. There are no sanctions for immigration managers incapable of timely processing. And, get this, the "customers" dealing with immigration pay filing fees which, if raised slightly, might result in timely processing.
Richard Breitman, Edina
A more tangible argument
Individuals and groups taking action to control mega livestock operations deserve much appreciation ("State groups sue to pressure EPA to regulate feedlots," Sept. 18). It is incomprehensible, nay, unsustainable and outrageous, that Minnesota has 42 million animals in 1,583 CAFOs with 22,200 registered feedlots producing 50 millions tons of manure each year as the article states. Say it isn't so!
Members of the Minnesota Pork Board, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the National Pork Producers Council and the Environmental Procrastination Agency should be required to repose awhile downwind and downstream to get a smell and taste of what they are dragging their feet on. For good measure, they could spend some time alongside exploited migrant workers in a slaughterhouse.
The health, ecological and financial considerations of those involved in the food industry as well as the rest of us would do better to emphasize regenerative agriculture systems and plant-based diets. It is imperative to hasten toward a total abolition of large food-animal operations and not just nibble at the edges of these inhumane and unhealthy practices.
Richard Laybourn, Bloomington
Don't mess with the lucky jersey
It's all my fault. The Vikings' disappointing 0-3 record is on me. Let me explain. My husband and I are able to attend one or two home games every season. Every game we have witnessed in person has resulted in a Vikings victory. So it was with great confidence that we sat down at U.S. Bank Stadium to watch the game against Tampa Bay. We were stunned by the loss. Surely it was a fluke. Surely the stars had aligned a week out of order and the Vikings would beat the Eagles. But alas, it was another loss. OK, we most definitely will beat the Chargers on our home turf. Nope. What was wrong? Why was the cosmos so out of whack? Then it hit us. This season I was wearing a new Vikings jersey to watch the games. I had retired my old jersey, with the name and number of a player who hadn't played for the Vikings in years. That was the difference. Beginning next Sunday, I'm going back to my old jersey. The Vikings will win, and we can rest assured that the rest of the season will be out from underneath "The Curse of the New Jersey."
Kelly A. Bankole, Lakeville
Dear distraught Vikings fans: I feel your pain. But there is another team in town that you might want to take some interest in. The Twins are young, talented and heading for the playoffs. With the new pitch clock rule, games generally run only about two and a half hours, while NFL games run three-plus hours, with the final "two minutes" often running at least 15. So give the "boys of summer" a try. I think you'll be happy that you did.
Robert W. Carlson, Plymouth