Thursday | December 14, 2017
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Your Views for October 19

Aid-in-dying

Currently, Hawaii does not allow me the choice of ending my life even when it is deemed eminent.

Why is it that my life’s savings will be exhausted in the last month of my life — in the name of “fighting for my life”?

Why is death perceived as giving up the fight? My death will come, and I hope to embrace it like my parents, who had the honor of dying at home in their own beds.

Why is it that my physician asked if I was suicidal when I handed him my advance directive at age 30? I replied that a motor vehicle accident could leave me brain dead while my young body kept going. Or worse yet, it could sever my spinal cord, and I refuse to live without control over my body. I am not Superman with his means. Why do only the rich and famous have their choices?

A recent Kaiser study found that of 89 percent eligible patients, only 17 percent had the conversation about death with their physicians. This shows an 80 percent avoidance of the subject by patients and their medical providers.

Now, it’s required on your hospital admission but not necessarily followed. So when my cancer patient packed a gun to end his life in the hospital, I understood his reasoning but the rest of the nursing staff called in the police, who interrogated him.

After 30 years of ICU nursing, I know hospitals do a poor job with dying patients for multiple reasons. Why not consider letting them go home to die with the option of medical aid-in-dying?

Hawaii needs to take heed to its aging citizens who compose a third of the population. Remember to vote for representatives who honor this message and keep them to it.

Mary M. Uyeda

Hilo

A temple or a compound?

As a student at Hawaii Community College, my geography teacher told me in a geography of Hawaii class that Mauna Kea is not an extinct volcano, it is dormant.

This troubles me in one way, but in another, it doesn’t. For one, it worries me to know that if Mauna Kea was to ever erupt, people living in Hilo might lose their homes, especially the people who live along the Hamakua Coast.

The other reason is that if Mauna Kea erupted, all of the telescopes up there on the mountain would be lost, and the people who fought with their words and spirits against the building of those telescopes would be celebrating.

It is also spooky to know that there could be a 50-50 chance that it can go both ways at the same time.

Also, I question when it does happen, will it be in my lifetime? If the volcano erupts, it would settle this problem of whether Mauna Kea is a temple or telescope compound?

James M. De La Cruz

Hilo

 

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