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Opinion

April 20, 2013

Manor sale would end long, proud legacy

Manor sale would end long, proud legacy

I have been going to the Manor (before that the Meadows) to provide medical services since the early 1980s, initially as a medical resident and for the last 13 years as an attending physician. At the Meadows, there used to hang a remarkable panel that included many familiar local names, with ages ranging from months to the geriatric years. The panel was essentially the directory to the graves of paupers buried nearby. It was a powerful reminder that the Meadows, and subsequently the Manor, was a direct descendant of the county poor-farm system.

Prior to the days of Medicaid and Medicare, the poor, indigent, orphaned and demented were provided food and shelter, usually in exchange for manual labor, as a responsibility of the community. I fear that we are losing that sense of responsibility to care for those among us who are most vulnerable. We have come a huge distance in the humane and compassionate care of the poor and infirm over the years. I refuse to believe that a compromise between the superb staff at the Manor and our elected officials is an impossibility and that the only solution is to sell to an outside “private interest” whose only interest in fact is turning a profit and who, despite the most well-intentioned vetting, could “flip” the enterprise at any time to a less-desirable operator.

We, the community of greater Otsego County, need to demand that a fiscally responsible compromise be struck. Several proposals are out there. To do otherwise is to turn our backs on centuries of communal responsibility to take care of the less-fortunate. Do we as the society and heir to this ethical tradition really want to abdicate our responsibility and break faith with our ancestors? I trust the answer is a firm no.

Dr. Douglas DeLong 

Cherry Valley

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