ISSUE | TAXI SAFETY

Ensure it's insured

An article on taxi insurance was timely, at least for me ("City cabs light on accident coverage," Nov. 27). Returning from an August medical appointment for knee surgery, I was hit by an All City Taxi cab in Center City. My attorney soon learned that the cabbie's insurance carrier is in liquidation. Perhaps it is wise to ask a taxi driver to show proof of insurance before getting in.

|Michael Fill, Philadelphia, poconopadre@aol.com

ISSUE | PROTESTS

Root causes

A recent letter writer asserts that violent protests contradict the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King's principles and thwart racial harmony ("Nonviolent civil rights activist would mourn," Nov. 30). Certainly, violent protest does nothing to incite white haters to hate any less.

However, after rereading King's "Letter From Birmingham Jail," I was reminded of his nuanced take on violent acts. While steadfastly requiring nonviolent resistance, he admonished whites to understand that they could expect violence as long as they tolerated police brutality and other unjust mistreatment of blacks.

So let's get on with eliminating systematic police harassment in black neighborhoods and the massive incarceration of black males. Let's correct the state of unconscionably inadequate education for urban black children. Let's correct an economic system that doesn't provide employment for all, notably urban blacks.

|Al Pearson, Philadelphia

ISSUE | WOMEN'S HEALTH

Surgical options part of reproductive choice

Hooman Noorchashm has repeated his claim that there is "overwhelming evidence that nearly one in 300 to 500 women are at deadly risk" from the power morcellation hysterectomy procedure ("FDA warning just the start," Dec. 3). But that number is a result of a review of available statistics for women with a specific type of cancer, and its repeated use is misleading. The cancer that Noorchashm's wife and my sister have is aggressive. So his statement that the "many lives lost" were caused by "reckless activity" denies the reality that uterine leiomyosarcoma has a high rate of death.

The surgery did not cause the cancer, and while it is logical that cutting a tumor to bits could cause it to spread, the statistical evidence to support the theory that the procedure hastens death is debatable, in part because this cancer is so rare.

This procedure is used in about one-quarter of all hysterectomies. Banning it would require women to undergo abdominal surgery and lengthy recovery based on the slight risk that this rare cancer is present. Instead, we could develop tests to detect the cancer before surgery and make the surgical choice then. After all, shouldn't the fight for reproductive choice extend to an informed choice of surgical procedures for hysterectomy? Further research and debate should come before an outright ban.

|Renee Devine, Drexel Hill

ISSUE | PRESIDENTIAL POWERS

Welcome refusal to be treated as a doormat

I am thrilled to see President Obama finally using his powers to move on issues that he should have promoted four years ago ("Obama's new defiance," Nov. 30).

|Judy Rubin, Philadlephia

ISSUE | DEALING WITH LOSS

Spreading holiday cheer a balancing act

Amid office merrymakers, it's likely that many have a coworker who is a silent soldier - an individual grieving over the loss of a loved one during the year. How do you reach out appropriately?

As a bereavement coordinator, I find that it starts with a careful choice of words. If you knew a coworker's loved one, share something about him that you admired. If not, don't be afraid to ask about holiday traditions they shared.

Be sure to avoid hollow sayings about someone being in a better place or time healing.

Try a few simple acts of kindness. If a coworker is a coffee lover, for example, bring him a double latte or favorite cappuccino. See if he wants to go out to lunch. Offer to take some work off his plate.

For most of us, the holidays are synonymous with charity and cheer, and both can be spread at work through fellowship and generosity toward those who are quietly grieving.

|Jeanne Morrison, Crossroads Hospice, Plymouth Meeting