Editorial on death is wrong view, contradictory

Jan. 8, 2013 at 6:02 p.m.
Updated Jan. 7, 2013 at 7:08 p.m.

Editor, the Advocate:

The San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News editorial (Jan. 2) on "How to Die" is rife with ambiguities, contradictions and questionable or false assertions.

The comments on pain and suffering are contradictory. For example, intubated patients are said to suffer "unnecessary pain and indignity," yet "pain can be managed very well today." Intubation does not necessarily imply expected imminent death; should we therefore ban intubation for all patients due to so-called unnecessary pain and indignity?

The writer does not explain what is meant by "dying with dignity." What does dignity have to do with death? Nor does he explain what is meant by "end of life." Imminent death? Within hours? Predicted within six months? What is meant by "pointless" end of life care - care that doesn't work?

Why does the writer allege that U.S. health care "achieves poorer results" than in Europe? In Europe, euthanasia is rampant in hospitals, with elderly and gravely ill patients being killed by act or omission, with or without their consent, while the affluent come here for superior treatment.

Due to our traditional high regard for human life, it is not surprising that a substantial part of Medicare spending is on patients who die and that much of that part is spent in the final month of life.

All we need is the will to value human life as more important than the money needed to preserve it.

Obamacare will inexorably lead to severe rationing of the necessarily expensive medical care of the elderly and seriously ill. Passive euthanasia is the denial of life-sustaining treatment desired by the patient or his designee.

Given the dire financial straits of the state of California, it is no surprise that an editoralist from that state would favor Medicare cuts for treatment of the elderly and seriously ill.

St. Paul said it well: "The love of money is the root of all evil."

Jack A. Mullins, Victoria



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