January Letters


Boston magazine did a serious disservice to its readers with “A Prescription for Trouble” [November]. Your portrayal of Jeffrey Drazen bears no resemblance to the person we know. Dr. Drazen has been a tireless and creative leader of the New England Journal of Medicine. He is recognized worldwide for his work in the drive for greater accountability and transparency in medical research. Contrary to your article’s thesis, he has implemented a multipart approach to protect the integrity of our reports. We see the results daily in our interactions with researchers.

Your article is riddled with basic errors—in the fundamentals of medicine, in the history of the New England Journal of Medicine, in the description of our business. Other errors show a lack of understanding of how medical research is conducted and communicated. In your fanciful portrait, you trivialize the work of science and medicine. Medicine and, by extension, all of us who ever need medical care are lucky to have someone of Jeffrey Drazen’s character, energy, and insight at the helm of the Journal of Medicine.

The staff of the Journal of Medicine works painstakingly to ensure the integrity, validity, and accuracy of what we publish. We take immense pride in the contribution the Journal of Medicine makes each week to Boston, the nation, and the world. It is unfortunate that your article does not meet the same high standards.

Gregory Curfman, M.D., EXECUTIVE EDITOR; Edward W. Campion, M.D., SENIOR DEPUTY EDITOR AND ONLINE EDITOR; Stephen Morrissey, Ph.D., MANAGING EDITOR, ALL OF THE New England Journal of Medicine; Christopher R. Lynch, VICE PRESIDENT FOR PUBLISHING, Massachusetts Medical Society


What your article “The Mommy Uprising,” failed to include was the dark side of the warm-and-fuzzy stories of “natural childbirth”: women having unrecommended home births or delaying emergency C-sections, only to have their babies die before or while being delivered.

After trying for years to get pregnant, when I did deliver a healthy baby girl—five weeks early, breech—she and I were in distress. I didn’t need a fetal monitor to tell me that. I knew the best chance for my unborn child was to get her out right away, which meant an emergency C-section. Even 50 years ago, both my child and I most likely would have died. Now I have an incredibly funny, smart six-year-old who might not be here if I hadn’t been ready to alter my ideal birth plan. The women in your story have lost sight of what is important: a healthy mother and baby.

Sally Hardwick
Seattle, WA

Having just read “The Mommy Uprising,” I am offended by Tina Cassidy’s oversimplified view of Boston’s “Big Three” hospitals.
I have three boys, all delivered at Mass General. During the birth of my last child, his heartbeat started to fall dramatically, which was registered on a fetal monitor—the machine criticized in your article for false readings. He was born with his umbilical cord around his neck, and would have had cerebral palsy had it not been for that monitor. If I’d had a home birth, I would now be taking care of a child with special needs. Instead, I have a healthy child—and I feel I owe it to the doctors and nurses who took care of me to defend them.

Leigh Pelletier


I enjoyed reading “The Tween Machine”, mostly because of my nine-year-old daughter, who was introduced to Girl Authority when I took her to a concert at the Braintree Kmart. Lo and behold, I opened the door to a group of girls she looks up to. She is proud to wear her Girl Authority T-shirt, and has personalized autographed posters adorning her wall alongside the Olsen twins and Hilary Duff.

Thanks for the great article. My daughter is using it for a report at school (while wearing her T-shirt, of course!).

Christina Sheehan

Chris Wright’s article on Girl Authority paints a picture of record-company marketing avarice at the expense of children. What he misses is the sheer joy of making music, and the discipline and dedication of the girls in the group—many of whom have been singing and dancing together in musical theater since they were tots. These girls are engaged in a deeply imaginative and constructive activity that should stand by them in terms of self-esteem and accomplishment for the rest of their lives.

Mr. Wright also has a confused picture of Rounder Records, which has always been a business. We pride ourselves on our dedication to niche and roots music, but that would surely include our recent successes with jazz artist Madeleine Peyroux and British soul singer James Hunter. Our children’s music roster, which includes Raffi, is one of the strongest in the industry.

Instead of approaching the Girl Authority story with a preconceived idea of exploitation and a once idealistic record company gone wrong, Mr. Wright should have opened his eyes and ears to a group of uncommonly talented and dedicated kids.

Scott Billington, vice president
of A&R, Rounder Records

For the Record

“The Tween Machine” incorrectly stated that Godsmack is signed to Rounder Records. Rounder released a Godsmack DVD; however, the band is signed to Republic/Universal.