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Cancer Survivor: Other Thoughts on Euthanasia

July 10, 1988

This response to the Commentary by Alex Hardy (June 26) is not meant in any way to minimize his fears and pain and the feelings of frustration that he suffered because of the controversy over euthanasia.

I have survived cancer twice and understand his fears and know the pits of radiation and chemotherapy. I read and reread his letter and felt sad for this man I never even knew.

However, lest any future cancer victims be concerned by reading of Mr. Hardy's unfortunate lack of satisfactory one-on-one medical communication, I feel that I must speak up for those of us who have had a positive experience, and certainly in defense of the "evasive, mumbling, equivocal and fatuous Newport Beach oncologists, who seem totally incompetent in human relations." Not so!

These are our dedicated doctors in a highly specialized profession, spending their working hours with cancer patients in various desperate stages, running a constant battle with death. They do not have all the answers, and they are not all necessarily masters of psychology.

I can't believe that Mr. Hardy could have known my oncologist--a highly qualified, experienced and busy man, who moves like the wind and wears his compassion in his eyes. He held high hope for my recovery and showed it, yet always kept me well aware of the dangers during my years of chemotherapy. It takes two to communicate, and it takes time for a patient to develop confidence and trust, no matter what the outcome will be.

I am sad that Alex Hardy felt that he had to take his own life. I am in a great remission now, but if, in the future, I become terminally ill, I cling to the faith that surely I will be allowed to die with dignity.

JEANNE GRIFFETH

Newport Beach

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