Editor’s Note: We received a number of letters about the cover of our Winter 2022 issue of U Magazine highlighting the article, “The Stradivari of Westwood.” The cover illustration portrays UCLA neurosurgeon Dr. Daniel Lu holding one of his hand-crafted violins on his right shoulder as if he is playing left-handed, which, according to the letter writers, would be rare, if not unheard of. The illustration’s orientation reflects artistic license necessary for cover-design considerations. We regret any confusion this has caused.
The “Stradivari of Westwood” is an interesting article. Unfortunately, the illustration on the cover of the magazine is backwards. I'm sure the image will be jarring to thousands of your readers. No violinist holds the bow in the left hand, there are no “left-handed” violins and all violins are strung the same. Photographs in the inside pages also show Dr. Lu playing right-handed. All the same, this issue of the magazine is very well done artistically, and the content is very interesting.
Noel H. Fishman, MD ’60
La Jolla, California
I am a professional violinist (and a 1976 graduate in the Slavic Department of UCLA). The cover of your lovely article about Dr. Lu has a gross error. In my 65 years of playing the violin, I have only known one left-handed violinist. Playing such a violin necessitates reversing everything on the instrument, and it is a nightmare to sit next to such a person in an orchestra because they are bowing with the left hand, not the right. Years ago, a major magazine had a big article on violinist Isaac Stern, and one of the photos in the piece had been flipped, so he looked like a left-handed violinist. Clearly, this is not the case with Dr. Lu, who is shown on page 32 playing with the bow in his right hand and the violin held with his left. Printing this incorrectly is tantamount to the fact checker not being on top of things. But thank you for the article. It was fascinating.
Beverly Hills, California
The winter issue of U Magazine just arrived, and the cover jolted me with disbelief. Is it really true that no one on the editorial staff of your magazine took responsibility to look at the final proof before it went to press and notice anything awry? To almost anyone who has ever seen a violin being played, this is astonishing. One should not need to even “like” any kind of music to see what is wrong. You owe Dr. Lu and your readers a major apology.
Ivan Shulman, MD
Music Director, Los Angeles Doctors Symphony Orchestra
While I’ve enjoyed this issue — especially pieces by Dr. Kristofer J. Jones and Zina Jawadi — I was dismayed by the cover art for the fascinating, important story of Dr. Daniel Lu. Why could the artist not illustrate Dr. Lu playing a violin conventionally? The photo on p. 32 would have been a good model.
UCLA Writing Programs, retired
The Winter 2022 magazine’s cover has an image of “The Stradivari of Westwood” holding a violin/viola incorrectly. Traditionally, the instrument is held over the left shoulder while the bow is held in the right hand. Was this intentional? If so, for what purpose?
Barbara Komas, MD ’86
You must know by now that your cover illustration by Jason Raish on the Winter 2022 edition is very, very wrong. I’m astounded that your magazine could let such a mistake get into print. I can only assume that the editor isn’t familiar with the violin. Seeing the cover actually felt like a punch in the stomach.
Judith Henderson (a musician)
It was disappointing to see U Magazine publish “A Tale of Two COVIDs,” which compared the U.S. COVID response to that of Taiwan, an Island nation with a population a little larger than Florida. After taking a predictable and tedious swipe at President Trump, the former LA Times journalist/author, who is writing about the book Fighting the First Wave, attempted some patchwork equivocation without citing any numbers or metrics.
Let me share one statistical set: According to Johns Hopkins, the US Case Fatality Rate (CFR) of 1.8% is less than the CFRs in France, Germany, the UK, Italy, Belgium, Ireland, Australia, and Argentina - to name some countries. The US CFR equals the CFRs in Japan and Canada (both of which employed lockdown measures much more extreme than those in the US).
Sweden’s 1.3% CFR, a country which the author disparages, is in the top CFR quartile among western nations. Sweden’s CFR is less than the CFR in South Korea, which the author cites as a “successful public health response.” By the way, Los Angeles County’s CFR is approximately 1.95%. Perhaps UCLA's Luskin School of Public Affairs could (quietly) look into this performance along with New York State’s 2.5% CFR or New York City's 3.5% CFR.
Some journalists, academics and health officials will question measuring COVID management success by the morbidity of those who have actually been diagnosed, but public policy analysts and writers would better serve the public by citing and footnoting multiple data sets, letting readers draw their own conclusions, and taking a break from banal, one-sided political comments that are currently fashionable in academia and media.
Member, Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center and Orthopaedic Hospital Board of Advisors
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Drs. Mazziotta’s and Panosian-Dunavan’s articles in the Winter U Magazine. It brought back many fond memories of my time on the full time faculty when he was Dean. It was wonderful watching his history taking and physical exams when he was rounding with my Internal Medicine Ward team on teaching rounds. I will never forget how kind and gentle he was, treating all human beings with respect.
Dean Mellinkoff was known to stop and chat with a Janitor or Gardener on his way from the faculty parking lot, get to know them and find out what was going on with them. I will always have fond memories when, at the end of Medical Grand Rounds, he would often stop and wish me well. Whenever that would happen, I could nearly always count on having received a new patient referral by the time I got back to my office. It would always be someone he had met and befriended on his way into his office. He truly cared about of of us equally.
The world was always a better place when he was with us. So many of us at UCLA owe so much gratitude for all that he gave to us.
Frank Apgar, MD
(Res ’79, GIM/HSR Faculty ’79-'90)
I received our copy of U magazine for Winter 2019 and one article caught my attention. The title was Heartbreak and Hope. The article dealt with miscarriage of a pregnancy. After reading it I felt that I had to share my story. It warms my heart to know that Doctors and other medical personnel understand what it means to lose a child. I am talking about miscarriage late in the pregnancy, like at 5 months.
I am 71 years old, with a 45-year-old daughter and a 43-year-old son. I have never been able to talk to them about their older brother or sister. When I was of optimum childbearing age miscarriage were not spoken about. The atmosphere was more of a “you lost the baby, get over it and try again.”
My first pregnancy ended not in a miscarriage, but in a missed abortion. Everything was fine with the pregnancy until the beginning of my third trimester. I woke up one day feeling off. About 3:00 in the afternoon I took my afternoon break and in sitting and thinking realized that I had not felt the baby move at all that day. I ended my break and returned to my office to call the doctor. He wanted me to come in right away. I called my husband and explained the problem. He met me at the doctor. The doctor spent an unordain time looking for the baby’s heartbeat. He could not find it at all. Finally, he ordered an immediate sonogram and blood test. I was sent on my way with stops for each test.
The doctor put a rush on test results. I was to come back the next day. When I got to his office the next day, I was ushered into his office immediately. He looked unhappy as he said to me “I am sorry to tell you this, but the baby died and did not spontaneously abort.” My husband and I were stunned. How could this be? Then he gave me the rest of the news: he could not do a D and C until the baby started to abort on its own. Then he sent me home.
My husband and I held each other; we railed at God. We went over in our minds all our activities in the past few days trying to figure out if I did something that made the baby die. We did not understand at all. The explanation we chose to believe is that the missed abortion (and miscarriages) are Gods way of taking care of a child who would be so ill or so deformed that it would have been cruel to have the baby born.
We lost a baby at a time when we should have been painting his or her room. And all people would say is “get over it”.
That people finally understand that it is normal to grieve in this situation is nothing short of a miracle.
Class of 1969, UCLA