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Letters: When dying isn't easy

December 21, 2012

Re "A better ending," Column, Dec. 19

Kudos to Steve Lopez and The Times for moving the "death with dignity" discussion front and center.

Life is finite and none of us is going to get out of this alive. Healthcare professionals and loving families must have the compassion and moral fortitude to acknowledge the difference between prolonging life and prolonging death. The quality of our last days hangs in the balance.

Lynn F. Kessler

Sherman Oaks

Just as the nation is taking a serious look at violence in our culture, your paper has a major article promoting another example of an attempt to solve our "problems" through violence. No matter how you package it, whether as physician-assisted suicide or euthanasia, it is still violence.

Lopez mentions a woman who noted that people who believe "death should be left in God's hands often take drastic steps to prolong their lives using ventilators or feeding tubes." Actually, to believe that death belongs in God's hands does not mean we have to take drastic steps to prolong life when there is no real sign of recovery. The morally problematic step is that of taking direct action to end our lives.

We need to help the terminally ill know that their life is always of inestimable value to us. Some choices are too big for us to make.

John S. Woolway


I read Lopez's article with much interest. I firmly believe in death with dignity, free of medical devices and procedures to extend life. Washington state and Oregon have it right. Doctors and hospitals should help patients who want to exit this world with the least amount of intervention from the medical community.

In this age of deficit reduction, and given the need to curb high healthcare spending, we should think about limiting medical intervention when death is imminent.

Mindy Taylor-Ross



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