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A Good Loma Linda Earmark?

Yesterday’s Redlands Daily Facts has a glowing bio piece on Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Redlands) who has been a good friend to Loma Linda University. I thought this to be an interesting defense of earmarks.

Beginning in 1988, Lewis convinced majority Democrats to fund an innovative technology at Loma Linda University Medical Center, which focused a proton beam to kill cancers without harming surrounding tissue. The Proton Treatment Center has gone on to treat thousands of patients.

“That would not exists if it weren’t for earmarks,” Lewis said. “(Founder) Jim Slater came to Washington and gave a presentation. The center has saved thousands of lives and I am very proud of that work.”

Here’s a nicely illustrate article in last year’s Times on nuclear therapy:

“It all comes down to the physics,” said Dr. Jerry D. Slater, the head of radiation medicine at Loma Linda University Medical Center in Southern California. “Every X-ray beam I use puts most of the dose where I don’t want it.” By contrast, he said, proton beams put most of the dose in the tumor.

Loma Linda built the nation’s first hospital-based proton center in 1990 and has treated about 13,000 patients. Its success has inspired others.

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