Local/Kansas The Salina Journal Monday, January 13,1986 Page 3 Medical malpractice appeal to top court's agenda TOPEKA (AP) - The Kansas Supreme Court hears appeals on 28 cases this week, including a challenge to a Johnson County jury's award of one of the largest medical malpractice judgments in state history. The January term of court opens at 9:30 a.m. today, and the court will release opinions Friday morning on cases heard in December and a few held over from earlier terms. Two medical malpractice cases are before the court Thursday morning, including Humana Inc.'s appeal of a $10.93 million award to Brent William Olsen, a 6-year-old Overland Park boy who sustained irreversible brain damage at birth in Suburban Medical Center in Overland Park in November 1979. Also to be heard that morning is an appeal on behalf of Jaymie Lyn Hagedorn, whose attorney alleges her neurological and brain damage was the result of a faulty delivery at Stormont-Vail Regional Medical Center in Topeka. A Shawnee County District Court jury found in favor of the hospital and other defendants. The court also will hear this morning an appeal by American Cyanamid Co. of a $10 million judgment against it by a Sedgwick County District Court jury, which found the company liable in a case in which a Wichita man, Emil E. Johnson, became paralyzed after being exposed to a live oral polio vaccine given to his daughter. Another appeal up for oral argument before the seven-member court Tuesday afternoon involves Kansas City Power and Light Co.'s challenge of a Kansas Corporation Commission order on purchase rates on cogeneration and small power production of electricity. A Johnson County jury awarded the Olsen boy $3.34 million in actual damages and $7.6 million in punitive damages from Humana Inc. as well as slightly more than $2 million from a doctor and his professional association, who have settled and are not part of the appeal. The brain damage was caused, the suit contended, from a denial of oxygen to the boy's brain during birth. Humana contends the jury should not have been allowed to consider its assets in arriving at the punitive damage amount assessed against its subsidiary, Humana of Kansas Inc. Humana Inc. operated 90 hospitals in 23 states. It also challenges the legality of punitive damages. In a cross appeal, the boy's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Bob Olsen, challenge the trial court's decision not to permit them to collect damages for emotional stress. Olsen is an assistant U.S. attorney for Kansas. A Shawnee County jury found no liability on the part of Stormont-Vail and other defendants in the Hagedorn case. The hospital successfully argued during trial that the infant's injuries stemmed from a congenital defect and not because of faulty delivery. The girl's attorney alleges numerous errors by the trial court judge. In the Johnson case from Wichita, American Cyanamid contends a warning in the oral polio vaccine package should accord it immunity from liability. The vaccine was manufactured by Lederle Laboratories. Johnson was hospitalized in December 1975 and now suffers permanent paralysis of the upper truck of his body. KCPL contends in its appeal that the KCC's purchase rate order on cogeneration and small power generation is unconstitutional because it deprives it of a right to freely contract and, in effect, constitutes deprivation of property without due process. It is the second time the cogeneration issue has been before the Supreme Court. The court previously upheld the KCC's power to issue such orders, then sent the case back to the commission to set the purchase rates. Scott Wllllami WINDOW SEAT — Sissy, a dog owned by Chris and Don Seward of Salina, faithfully waits for the Sewards to return from a fast-food restaurant to their car. Seminars to help rural people help their neighbors Wichita man still serious after plane crash GRANBY, Colo. (AP) — A Wichita, Kan., man remained in serious condition at a Denver hospital Sunday as an investigation continued into the : plane crash that killed five near the Rocky Mountain ski resort in which Carlin is a semifinalist forKSUjob WICHITA (AP) — Gov. John Carlin, a graduate of Kansas State University, is among 45 semifinalists for the presidency of the school, according to a published report. Carlin, who is barred by the Kansas Constitution from seeking another term as governor when his Carlin second term expires in January 1987, is among the semifinalists to replace Duane Acker, who will step down in June, the Wichita Eagle- Beacon reported Saturday. Mike Swenson, a spokesman for the 45-year-old governor, declined to comment on the report. "We've made it very clear we're not going to have anything to say regarding the K- State presidency until said time as the president is chosen," Swenson said. The Kansas Board of Regents will select the new KSU president in April. Acker, president of the school since 1975, announced his resignation from the $92,000-a-year position last spring. Carlin, who graduated from KSU in 1962 with a bachelor of science degree, has downplayed rumors that he was interested in the KSU presidency. The Eagle-Beacon quoted a source as saying the list of semifinalists included presidents of several universities in other states and executives in private industry. Jerome Frieman, search committee chairman, refused to confirm or deny that Carlin was among the candidates being considered. Carlin is part owner of the C and W Ranch near Smolan. The committee hopes to submit a list of three to five finalists to the regents by March 1. The board has given the committee until April 1. two of the victims were managing partners. Federal aviation investigators had ended their on-site inspection of the crash scene by early Sunday, said Sgt. Tom Nixon of the Grand County Sheriff's Department. Nixon was told that investigators planned to bring the shattered Cessna Twin-Jet Citation-441 to the Denver area early this week to search for evidence of mechanical problems, Nixon said. At St. Anthony Central Hospital in Denver, Thomas Leroy Harrington, 48, was in serious condition with injuries from the crash, said nursing supervisor Henrietta Welchell. She refused to give details of Harrington's injuries. His wife, 45-year-old Lois Harrington, was among the five killed when the company jet slammed into the ground 400 feet short of the runway at an airstrip near Granby on Saturday morning. Willard Gettle Jr., 47, of Hut- chinson, Kan., and Calvin Klancke, 55, of Denver, who in 1980 resurrected plans for a year-round resort near Granby and named it Sil- verCreek, were killed instantly. Gettle's wife, 49-year-old Pat Gettle, also killed, was piloting the plane. Sheriff's investigators said she attempted to land about 10:30 a.m. with visual flight rules while the area was socked in with heavy fog. The airstrip formerly belonged to the town, but had been recently purchased by the SilverCreek ski resort. The airstrip has no control tower, but the pilot was in radio contact with a SilverCreek employee as she attempted the landing. Also killed was Williard Gettle's brother, 48-year-old William Gettle. The 4,700-acre site now known as SilverCreek had been started by Arizona developer Del Webb in the 1970s. In 1980, Willard Gettle and Klancke rescued the defunct Val Moritz resort for more than $5 million and pledged a scaled-down ver- sion of the controversial year-round resort Webb had envisioned. The ski area opened for the 1982-83 season. Gettle was the managing partner and Klancke was the other general partner. "The resort will continued operations and business as usual," Sil- verCreek spokesman Dave Anderson said Saturday after some of the 14 limited partners in the venture met privately at SilverCreek. William Gettle had purchased a parcel of SilverCreek for a condominium development of his own called Lakeview. Gettle owned Gettle Investment Co. in Hutchinson and the party was en route from Hutchinson when the crash occurred, said Anderson. Gettle also owned an office building in Wichita and last year purchased the Lakewood Country Club in Hutchinson. He owned homes in Hutchinson and Wichita, as well as at SilverCreek. School board retreat scheduled By DAVID CLOUSTON Staff Writer Ways to improve the exchange of information between school administrators and school board members, and ways for the board to plan more efficiently will be discussed by Salina School Board members at a retreat planned for this weekend. The retreat will include workshops conducted by John Koepke, executive director of the Kansas Association of School Boards, and Pat Baker, senior legal counsel for the school board association. "There's nothing very magic about it," Koepke said, referring to the agenda for the workshops. "We lead them through some exercises regarding boardmanship. We discuss what the role of the individual board member is, what the chairman's role is and the role of the superintend- ent." The school board association will bill the district for Koepke's and Baker's services. Koepke said the association's standard fee for conducting inservice workshops, such as the one scheduled, is $40 an hour. Salina Superintendent Terry Terril said the retreat would not involve a discussion of specific board issues, although the retreat technically is a public meeting because a quorum of board members is to be present. "That would not be in good faith," Terril said of conducting school business at the retreat. "If they (board members) are going to discuss issues we need to put those on an agenda and distribute it." The retreat will be from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Ramada Inn. A dinner is scheduled to precede the Friday session. Koepke said other boards the association has worked with have been able to increase their effectiveness by improving their methods for reaching decisions. "We try to help the board build a better relationship with the school staff,"he said. This will be the first time an in- service session has been conducted for Salina board members and Terril said he thinks it will be helpful. "You don't really know, though, because it's like going to the doctor," he said. "You go and you hope the treatments are successful but you don't find out until you leave the office. "Quite often the effects aren't really evident until members of the board take time to think them over.'' MANHATTAN (AP) — LeonNeher turned to relatives, friends and professional people when he needed to talk as he grappled with the "tremendous emotional pressure" of farm financial troubles. The Quinter farmer saw people didn't know how to react as he filed to reorganize his business finances under Chapter 11 of federal bankruptcy laws. He compares it with the uneasiness and confusion friends feel when someone gets a divorce. Neher felt stress. "It's more intense than an act of God," he said. "You have a tendency to blame yourself." Charles Smith, a Kansas State University developmental psychologist, describes the loss of homes, material possessions and lifestyles that often goes along with the failure of a farm as a form of "mental rape.' He agrees with Neher that friends and neighbors and even family members usually don't know how to react. Smith will lead a series of 17 seminars across the state in an effort to help rural people learn how to listen to and help their troubled neighbors. The seminars begin today and continue through March 27. As part of a K-State Extension Service project titled "Friends In- Deed," Smith also has prepared 20,000 copies of a personal home study program to help people further hone their listening and helping skills. By reaching 300 to 400 people at the seminars and thousands more through the home study course, Smith hopes to establish a series of informal support networks to help farm families and others cope with stress. Information on the seminars is available at county extension offices. In addition to social service workers and other professionals such as bankers, ministers and counselors, Smith wants members of the public to participate in the seminars. He said, for instance, the women who wait tables in rural cafes and already have untrained abilities as listeners should come. "Waitresses provide a very important service," he said. "Small town communities don't have mental health counselors. They have waitresses." The stress Smith is most concerned about doesn't affect just those who have lost or are losing their farms. He said a much larger number of people are worrying about whether they are going to be next. "It's an insidious thing permeating the fabric of rural communities and eating away at pride and self- esteem," he said. Smith wants to teach people how to recognize the initial emotional and physical signs of stress such as upset stomachs, panic, confusion and withdrawal from family life. He said helping people cope better with their problems could head off the eventual debilitating results of stress such as heart attacks and mental illness. Contrasting with the ease with which farm neighbors can see each others' crop failures is the difficulty caused by an intense desire for privacy on the part of many farmers, Smith said. Men especially have a difficult time asking for help with their emotional problems, he said. "It's part of our socialization to be independent. Men are supposed to be the breadwinners and the poised, cool kind of person portrayed in the media," he said. When the loss of a farm appears unavoidable, family members also feel guilt because of the concept that they were expected by their parents and their children to maintain the family farm as a viable, productive enterprise that could be passed on to another generation, Smith said. In some of his seminars, Smith illustrates a point with a prayer that asks for "the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference." Acceptance can be a powerful tool in dealing with tough times on the farm, Smith said. Acceptance isn't hopelessness or resignation, he said. It's just recognizing something is unchangeable and deciding to live with it, he said. People who sense a friend or relative needs to talk about his troubles should do their best to show they are available and interested through eye contact and by not interfering or asking questions once the conversation gets started, Smith said. Listeners need to be aware troubled people sometimes nibble around the edges of their problems during the first few minutes leading up to a more direct discussion of what's bothering them, Smith said. A conversation that begins with a statement like, "Boy, Sally really hassled me this morning," could end up in an exploration of a man's fears his wife is about to file for a divorce, the psychologist said. Once a person opens up, it's okay share relevant personal experiences, strength and hope, Smith said. Through his seminars and home study program, Smith would like to replace the uncertainty people feel about how to respond to troubled friends with a new attitude about the needs those people have. Bell program to cover problems Hays to keep looking for new water sources By JUDITH WEBER Staff Writer Southwestern Bell Telephone Co. is introducing a new program designed to ease customer worry and concern about seeking help with telephone service troubles. The program exempts participants from the charge Southwestern Bell makes for service calls to their homes or businesses. Eligible customers are those with standard single line service. Participants also will be exempted from the charge that now applies when trouble is found in the customer's telephone set. These charges now are based on the tune it takes to complete the work. The program is called Optional Home Maintenance Service — or OHMS — for residential customers and Optional Maintenance Service — or QMS—for business customers. The charge for OHMS-OMS is 90 cents a month. Under the plan, Southwestern Bell technicians will come to a customer's home or business to check and repair telephone wiring and jacks when a service problem occurs. OHMS-OMS may not cover some destruction or substandard wiring placed by the customer. If trouble is found in a telephone set, the customer will not be charged. Jim Gartner, district manager- customers relations for Bell, said the program will eliminate some of the confusion caused by the divestiture of AT&T. Since the divestiture, Southwestern Bell has not had the responsibility for inside wiring or phone sets, Gartner said. Customers who do not subscribe to OHMS or QMS may have Southwestern Bell perform maintenance service on a time-sensitive charge basis or have the work done by someone else. Customers who do not wish to participate in the new program may notify Bell by returning a reply card that will be available in their January and February bills, or they may call the business office listed in the front of their telephone directory. Customers will have until March 15 to make such notification. No action is necessary if the customer wishes to participate in OHMS or QMS. On March 1, all eligible customers will be enrolled unless they have notified Bell. By Harris News Service HAYS — Water use from the Smoky Hill River in 1985 was 16.5 percent below the state's allocation for Hays, but a search for new water sources continues. The city will soon send out bids for seismic and restivity testing, which will help narrow down sites for drilling test holes. Meanwhile, city commissioners say additional programs are needed to educate people about water problems. Commissioner George Philip said at Thursday's commission meeting that he saw someone watering a lawn recently. "It doesn't make sense to water a lawn when the grass is dormant," Commissioner Dan Rupp said. Commissioner Mike Grub said watering a lawn this time of year would do no good because the ground is frozen so much that the water would run off. Water use from the Smoky Hill in 1985 was below allocation, but "the mild climate was the main contributor," according to a memo from Laren Dinkel, water and sewage plant superintendent, to City Manager Ken Carter. Water conservation contributed to part of the savings, Dinkel said. The city will not be able to carry its savings on water over to 1986, Carter said. But Carter said it would "stand us in good stead" during the water search. "It will show that we made an effort to live within our limit," he said. Carter said he was "pleased" with the work of Black & Veatch, a Denver engineering firm the city hired in October to direct Hays' search for water. He said the firm was able to spend more time managing the project than he would have.
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