Humans should be allowed to die in a humane manner

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In a letter to the Post-Gazette two years ago, which the PG so graciously titled “A Loving Decision,” I described the death of our beloved pet, Moe the Cat. Moe was stricken with cancer and instead of putting him through treatments that in the long run would have accomplished nothing, we opted for him to be put to sleep.

I ended my letter with this thought: “Why are we, as a society, allowed to treat our pets with more humane actions than our human loved ones?”

Reading Nathan Hershey’s Aug. 17 Forum essay, “I Cannot Manage to Die,” conjured up exactly what I questioned. It seems everyone in Mr. Hershey’s family wants to abide by his wishes of letting him pass on with some human dignity, including himself.

He has lived a long, fruitful, prosperous life in which I am sure he has aided many in his positions held with the U.S. Army and at the University of Pittsburgh. He knows that it is his time now. Unfortunately society has said, “You are not allowed to die on your terms.” And so Mr. Hershey must live on, not knowing what day it is, what he did yesterday and all the other mental ailments that come with Alzheimer’s.

When are we, as a society, going to evolve, and be allowed to treat our human loved ones humanely?

Mr. Hershey, I feel for you and all the others like you who are in our nursing homes today. May our prayers be with you.



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