The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

October 22, 2009
Do you have a compelling story to tell, in 800 words?

ACW_DR__NATHAN_FAIRMAN_2.JPGSeveral weeks ago, an emergency room doctor named Nathan Fairman made contact with our pages. He inquired if we might publish his essay about how cuts in county mental health programs were filling his ER with people in desperate need of psychiatric treatment.

His essay required some slight editing, but it was packed with a powerful descriptions.

Patients with severe mental illnesses, wrote Fairman, were waiting on gurneys at the UC David Medical Center for days before being treated.

"One woman with schizophrenia was discharged with her doctors fully aware that there was some danger she might hurt herself or deteriorate further," he wrote. "The doctors' only other option, though, was to keep her on a gurney in the hallway."

We published Fairman's article, "ERs bear brunt of cuts to mental health," on the Viewpoints page on Oct. 10. I mention it because it represents a type of commentary, and a standard of writing, that we want to bring to these pages more frequently.

A doctor at UC Davis Medical Center, Fairman had not written for The Bee before. He wasn't a professional journalist. But he was angered by what he believed was an injustice that was overlooked in our community. As an ER doctor, he was in a unique position to chronicle what was happening.

As an editorial page editor, I wish I could find more Nathan Fairmans. No, I am not looking for doctors to fill our pages. I'm looking for unexpected voices. I'm looking for people of various occupations and backgrounds who can write with passion and personal knowledge of what they know best.

To read the rest of this post, go here.

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About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

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