I applaud WTAE-TV's Kelly Frey and her husband for working through the difficult end-of-life issues facing their unborn son ("It's Their Call: Couple Embrace Joy as They Live Through Troubled Pregnancy," Aug. 26 Health and Science). While he will be born in a first-rate hospital and will have access to the best of medical technology should there be a chance for survival, his parents are also planning for a serene and pain-free death if that should be the case. Isn't that what we all want for our own end-of-life journey? The best that medicine has to offer, yet a plan in place to ensure that we aren't needlessly suffering and can end our lives with dignity?
That is what end-of-life planning is all about, as Bob Arnold and Nancy Zionts explained in their Aug. 26 Perspectives piece ("The Last Days of Our Lives"). It is not about hastening the termination of life with "death panels," but giving everyone the information and the ability to plan for a pain-free and dignified end to their lives. Would any of us head into childbirth without a plan? Why should the end of life be any different?
Sen. Arlen Specter is doing our veterans a huge disservice by suggesting that end-of-life information be withheld from them ("Specter Urges VA to Reconsider End-of-Life Document," Aug. 26). Don't they have the right to be informed about their choices? Universities, hospitals and the government have been making great strides in conducting research and disseminating information about end-of-life palliative and hospice care. Don't let the irrational fear of withheld treatments and "death panels" stop this important work and deny Americans the right to die with dignity.
Helping Hands-Healing Hearts
The writer's organization promotes quality hospice and palliative care for children with life-threatening conditions.