We need more Dr. Bennetts

Many years ago, I watched my mother, a victim of ALS, struggle with the horror of being virtually mummified, with mind intact, losing total control over every function of her body, before a heart attack mercifully took her. I am so aware of Mary Jane Gentry's dilemma [February 24 cover story, "She's dying: His drug could save her"].

In this case, there seem to be several issues regarding use of the drug, but to me the most glaring is that the patient is denied the freedom to determine her own fate: to take the chance of any benefits or none at all; the right to live or die as she pleases. If the question of liability is the issue, all that is needed is a legally witnessed statement by the patient absolving any individual or company of the consequences of being administered the drug.

We need more humanitarians such as Dr. Bennett, and fewer bureaucrats who cannot think out of the box.

Alma Cunningham
North Garden