Letters for the week of October 31, 2013
Readers respond to end-of-life treatment by doctors, not being able to offer meals to the poor in the park and light rail's dirtiness
Death need not be shameful
Re “Doctors’ secret” by Melinda Welsh (SN&R Feature Story, October 10):
I was a registered nurse for 25 years, the last 12 spent as house nursing supervisor on an 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift, in a 300-plus bed Catholic hospital. I have seen so much suffering due to attempts to prolong the lives of obviously nonviable patients.
The difference in doctors and nurses is simple: The nurse isn't allowed to be truthful with families, or we weren't in 1995, which was my last year as an RN. Doctors were allowed to, but very few did.
Hospitals and doctors may profit from needless long-term care of terminal patients, but nurses do not. We are with the patient and family eight to twelve hours at a time, while many physicians see their patients once or twice a day. We see the endless suffering, and, for me, it became an ethical issue I could no longer tolerate.
Many patients on feeding tubes were fed 24 hours a day, resulting in continuous diarrhea. Patients on ventilators are stuck for very painful arterial blood gases often several times a day. IVs are started and restarted often. The patients are unable to speak, due to the endotracheal tube, and are often inadequately treated for pain. Frequently, no matter what directives the patient has signed and documented, they are ignored to comply with the wishes of the family members, in order to prevent lawsuits. We treat our animals more humanely.
My ethics and compassion were pushed to the limit. I agree with the doctor in the story who wanted his directives tattooed onto his body. My husband and son know I do not want to survive artificially if I am in a hopeless situation. I hope families become more informed, and this situation changes soon. It is shameful.
Light rail a failure
Re “Light wail” by Nick Miller (SN&R Editor’s Note, October 17):
Are you kidding me? If I wanted to keep my iPhone in my pocket, I would drive my car. Light rail is a failed experiment. In the year-and-a-half I have been a monthly pass holder riding the train weekdays—weekends are out of the question—I have only been asked for my proof of fare four times.
Let’s not even go into the cleanliness of the train cars: I know they make a spray for the smell. If Sacramento is spending the money for a first-class arena, why can’t we see what can be done to improve our public transit, so those that can afford to go to a Sacramento Kings game might consider using light rail?
In “Secession schmecession” (SN&R Editorial, October 24), we incorrectly reported that the city of Redding is considering such an idea. In fact, the Redding City Council voted secession down, 3-2, on October 1.