LETTER- Rich is right

The letters [July 20: "Rich just fears old age," "Virtue means caring for sick," and "Rich was a pain"] regarding Barbara Rich's July 13 essay ["Terminal? More than breath required for 'life'"] misinterpreted her point. She was not suggesting that people be euthanized who do not desire it; she was making the point that assisted suicide should be allowed for those who do.

     People tend to fear death, even those who profess to believe in God and therefore should not be so afraid of meeting their Maker. But the reality is that the process of dying is what should be feared, as it can be much crueler than death itself.

     A nursing home should not be confused with an assisted living home. A nursing home is a place where many ill people are simply waiting to die, suffering through the interminable day-to-day process of so-called "living." Many of these folks would choose the help of Dr. Jack Kevorkian, whose heart and brain were in the right place.

     The decision to end life when the body is giving out should be determined solely by the individual and not by "do-gooders" whose thinking is often the result of a lack of experience in these matters. Such people think life is always preferable to death, whatever the circumstances. But it is not. One has only to visit a nursing home and talk with people to find out the truth of this statement. (And, yes, I have.)

     I agree whole-heartedly with Barbara Rich. I certainly hope that if the time comes when my physical state makes life not worthy of living, I will have a "Dr. Kevorkian" to help me put an end to it. If a doctor has the right, morally and legally, to unnaturally prolong life with drugs, he should also have the right to end it when doing so is in the interest of the patient who desires such help.

    Wishing to end one's life under such circumstances is not a sign of depression. It is a mature, rational sign of the reality that death is not only a part of life, but also a gift to end one's suffering.   

     Marlene A. Condon