Chorus of voices grows stronger for 'death with dignity'

Chorus of voices grows stronger for 'death with dignity'

Maintaining control of when and how they die is an important desire for those who wish to avoid burdening loved ones at the end of their lives.

 Office workers trained in CPR make life-or-death difference

Office workers trained in CPR make life-or-death difference

When Jerald Gale experienced sudden cardiac arrest, he would have died if not for co-workers' swift action. More CPR training and more widely available defibrillators could save many more lives.

Ailing a bit, but determined not to miss a beat

Ailing a bit, but determined not to miss a beat

A knee replacement and a new pacemaker don't mean the columnist has stopped wanting to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted.

A wake-up call following knee replacement

A wake-up call following knee replacement

As I begin this column, it is Wednesday afternoon, Aug. 22. I have been alive 20,873 days, if my math is correct, and I hope to add to the tally.

A look at cultural traditions on death

A look at cultural traditions on death

A bioethics conference will focus on spiritual practices about dying, including whether the body is a temple ¿ or a prison.

A barbaric death, and a plea for a change in the law

A plea for a change in the law

Sandy Wester's husband, Donnie, had bladder cancer and had asked her to shoot him, begging repeatedly to die. She hopes California reconsiders a compassionate death law.

For Palm Springs man, grief and anger over an end-of-life decision

Grief, anger over end-of-life decision

Bill Bentinck, 87, felt he had made a difficult but compassionate choice in honoring his terminally ill wife's last wish to disconnect her oxygen supply. Police saw it differently, and so his ordeal began.

To Tony Lopez, with love

To Tony Lopez, with love

My dad never called a tow truck. That would have cost too much.

A father's last days

A father's last days

The hospice nurse said on Tuesday that my father could be gone within 24 hours. It was no surprise. He'd been bedridden for days, and on the list of 10 signs that death is near, he had six or seven.

Love, disease and a killing

Love, disease and a killing

A man kills his terminally ill wife. Maybe he ended her pain, but he hasn't found peace for himself.

Open the discussion on dying

Open the discussion on dying

Taboos shouldn't prevent us from having important conversations about end-of-life issues to spare loved ones the trauma of making difficult decisions alone.

Wishing for the right to make that final exit

The right to choose the final exit

Colleen Kegg knows this: When she can no longer feed herself or go to the bathroom without assistance, she will take steps to end her life.

Having to think about the unthinkable

Having to think about the unthinkable

"I could show you case after case," said Dr. Neil S. Wenger. "I could bet you million-to-1 odds these patients would not want to be in this situation."

A terrible choice to ponder

A terrible choice to ponder

The day after hip surgery, my father asked me to bring him a frozen coffee and something sweet the next morning. I returned to the hospital with a Frappuccino and a doughnut, one or both of which nearly killed him.

Not ready to die, but prepared

Not ready to die, but prepared

The cancer that started 11 years ago has now ravaged the body of Freddie Ramos. It attacked a kidney first, then a lung, and the 57-year-old family man knows that death waits in the near distance.

Geriatric doctor doesn't shy from tough talk

Doctor doesn’t shy from tough talk

Gene Dorio, an old-school practitioner in Santa Clarita, insists families — and physicians — have honest discussions about end-of-life issues with those in failing health. Too often difficult conversations are put off.

When death is certain, but dignity is not

When death is certain, but dignity is not

Last time I wrote about my dad, he’d taken a fall in his bedroom, couldn’t get up, but didn’t want yet another ride in an ambulance. So my mother got down on the floor with him and went to sleep.

Age of innocence and hope

Age of innocence and hope

Life is more than arthritis, blood pressure and pills at the 70th reunion of the Manual Arts Class of ’41, the last to graduate before WWII.

At 102, therapist is too busy to stop working

At 102, therapist too busy to quit work

Hedda Bolgar, who fled Europe when Hitler entered Austria, says there’s still much she hopes to accomplish. “I'm too busy to die. ”

Waiting calmly to die

Waiting calmly to die

Polly Berger, 86, wants to be with her family in full form, not some diminished state. And never as a burden. “You can't dance at every wedding,” Berger said.

Advertisement
FROM THE NEWSROOM
Columnist Steve Lopez has been writing for the Los Angeles Times since May 2001.