Letter to the Editor – 12/18/13

End-of-life care

As a palliative care physician, I would like to respond to Dan Boylan’s column”Time For a Death With Dignity Bill,” published in the Dec. 4 issue. As discussed in my appearance on PBS’s Insights, legalization of physician aid in dying is misguided public policy that fails to address the much greater issue of quality health care for people with serious and terminal illness. As we know from the Oregon experience, aid in dying is utilized by only one or two out of every 1,000 people with terminal illness. Yet, the idea appeals to many: having a simple solution at hand during what is perhaps the most dreaded human experience. I urge readers to ask a few questions from someone who lost a loved one in recent years. Did they have easy access to physicians and nurses in the middle of the night? Did any professional have a sit-down conversation to prepare them for what was coming? What did they offer to preserve human dignity and alleviate suffering? Despite improvements in recent years, we are far from having well-coordinated, competent, kind medical care for those in the final chapter of life.

Compared to the overstated, yet rather marginal issue of legalizing suicide, we should create public policy that facilitates better end-of-life care for all of us.

Emese Somogyi, MD,

Medical Director, Castle Medical Center Palliative Care Program
Associate Professor of Geriatric Medicine
John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii

Obamacare ills

Just a few words concerning James Masterson’s defense of Obamacare. All of the things he brought up could have been dealt with and fixed without a complete government takeover of health care.

We could have fixed it without millions of people’s policies being canceled.

We could have fixed it without the cost of insurance and deductibles going up.

We could have fixed it without millions of people going to Medicaid at the expense of the taxpayers.

We could have fixed it without spending more than $600 million.

We could have fixed it without requiring people to buy coverage they do not need or want. Nothing is free. Someone has to pay for it.

And please do not call the people who do not like Obamacare racists.

Lowell Brown

Israel debates

We’re experiencing a gratifyingly long-running series of letters in MidWeek about the “third rail” issue that is usually verboten in the U.S. mainstream media: Israel’s flouting of international law via its decades-long brutal military occupation of Palestine and its people. The illegal occupation, of course, is only the baseline: There are a myriad of side issues, ripples, spillovers and consequential effects flowing from it, each in its own way tormenting the victimized Palestinians, even the victimizer Israelis and, sadly, our occupation-enabling America. To be able each week to ponder and sort out, via MidWeek, various opinions and perspectives is educational and most welcome.

In the Dec. 4 MidWeek, Mathew Sgan disparages (“rattles off”; “slanderous assertions”) prior letters from P. Blair and J Ryan. Every educational resource provided by Ms. Blair is headed and staffed by journalists or human-rights advocates who have visited Palestine multiple times (or live in the Holy Land) and know firsthand the horrific crimes visited on the Palestinians!

Sgan also makes sure to include the canard that “Iran has threatened to annihilate Israel …” – a deliberate mistranslation that has been repeatedly and thoroughly debunked by the most eminent linguists and scholars. The proper translation is “The Zionist regime occupying Palestine must vanish from the pages of time.”

(In the U.S., we prefer, and use, the catchier term “regime change” when and wherever it suits us, but we surely do not threaten to annihilate the unfortunate country targeted.)

The rest of Sgan’s text is replete with the typical – and generally accepted by the U.S. public because it is not provided a balancing narrative – Zionist wordspeak.

As I hope that fellow dissenters might take on other disinformation in Sgan’s letter, I’ll close by returning to his words that Ms. Blair slanders Israel by asserting that “Most Israelis do not see Palestinians as human beings.” I offer these statements by Zionist leaders:

In the early 1980s, the revered Israeli Gen. Rafael Eitan dismissed the Palestinians as “drugged cockroaches scurrying in a bottle (who will) come crawling to us on all fours.”

In 1983, terrorist-become-Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin declared to the Knesset (parliament) that the Palestinians “are beasts walking on two legs.”

Robert H. Stiver
Pearl City

Ron’s sitcom

Each week when I pluck my copy of MidWeek from the mailbox, I turn first to Ron Nagasawa’s column, and it always makes me smile. I don’t know if everything he writes is absolutely true, and it doesn’t really matter. Ron always finds the humor in ordinary situations, usually involving him and his family.

I hope he is saving copies of all of his columns.

They would make great material for a family-friendly TV sitcom.

Ray Lovell

Pop Tart brothers

Just read Ron Nagasawa’s “Breakfast of Champions” column in MidWeek.

I thought he was writing about me … except that at least once a week I will buy a Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop Tart from our station vending machine and have it for dinner between our 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts. I rationalize that it’s better for me than a Whopper with cheese, although I’ve never actually compared the nutritional values.

Joe Moore