In response to Cardinal Roger Mahony’s criticism of the Kevorkian decision (May 3) and his apotheosis of human suffering (“Ending Pain Shouldn’t Mean Ending Lives,” Commentary, May 9):
What has he to say to kin of the terminally ill who choose to “play God” by pulling the plug or being assisted in doing so? Is there “dignity” in living under what Mahony calls “effective pain control” when loved ones are comatose or begging to die and will never again be able to relate to themselves or their surroundings? My mother hung on for two years under “effective pain control.” There was no hope for her recovery and she was miserable, as was I for her. We did the correct thing and waited for the end. Today I think dignity is served by Dr. Jack Kevorkian’s option to die and President Nixon’s instructions not to use extraordinary means.
If I become terminally ill and useless to myself and to others, I don’t want to be forcibly sustained by theology or technology.
Regarding Conrad’s cartoon depicting Michelangelo’s fresco of the creation that shows “God” (presumably Dr. Jack Kevorkian) extending a mask on a tube to Adam (Drawingboard, May 4):
Is Conrad disturbed that man usurps God’s power by extending a mask on a tube for life support oxygen, thereby not allowing life to naturally cease? Or is he just more disturbed that suffering terminally ill patients could have their prayers answered and be relieved of their intractable misery?
CARL P. SIEGMAN