Monday, January 3, 2011

Moral Travesty, the Golden Rule, and How We Die

A clip from Alexander Hooke's recent article at the Baltimore Sun:

A kind and good-natured neighbor died last week. He always wanted to die in the peace and comforts of home, as his wife did 15 years ago. After a bad fall, an ambulance whisked him away. He wound up in a strange and sterile room, his body invaded by wires and tubes to the very end.

Will last year's health care overhaul — or any other proposal — be able to address this moral travesty?


***


In any event, thinkers and moralists since Socrates and Seneca have encouraged humans to learn the art of dying: to prepare to live their last days on their own terms. Encumbered by medical advances, financial drives and litigious fears, the lessons of the sages remain more elusive than ever, as family members of my very kind neighbor sadly realized.

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