It is no secret that Medicare waste is due too often to a dozen or more specialists claiming services to people who are dying.

In my view, when the end is plainly in sight, we should be allowed to die in comfort. Pain relief is easy and cheap to administer. And frankly I would want the option of euthanasia were I facing the terminal stages of cancer or some other unstoppable medical killer.

I speak as one who spent much time in hospitals this past decade, caring for my wife who died in the end quickly and in complete comfort (she was not conscious). She was beloved by literally hundreds for her community service. She hung in there until suddenly blood leaking in the brain put her out for the last weeks.

The problem that one encounters is that relatives all too often control the treatment of patients who are dying. They are unwilling to face the inevitable and they bear my sympathy. But it is the person dying who should have the last word. I want to specify that in advance in writing, should I not be able to speak at the time.

Euthanasia is not a universal right now. It should be with limiting conditions protecting against depression induced suicides. But it should be a basic human right. People died quickly before advanced in modern medicine allowed us to stretch things out.

What do you think?

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MONTHS TO LIVE
Weighing Medical Costs of End-of-Life Care
By REED ABELSON
Ronald Reagan U.C.L.A. Medical Center is confronting a hard
truth: it’s difficult to know which critically ill patients
will benefit from its high-intensity approach.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/23/health/23ucla.html?th&emc=th

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent [blind copies]

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