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Letters: Death and the law

Re "Bad law, badly interpreted in Texas," Opinion, and "Bad behavior in California," Opinion, Jan. 16

The Times' juxtaposition of two timely, insightful Op-Ed pieces brings a focus to overheated issues ripe for resolution. The cases of Jahi McMath and Marlise Munoz highlight the need to immunize sound medical practice from improvident religious and cultural influences.

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Lawmakers need to establish medically prudent protocols for determining and documenting (with an expedited appeals process) brain death; prohibit the expenditure of public funds for medical procedures performed on any brain-dead patient; and incorporate brain death into criminal statutes prohibiting desecration of a corpse.

By precluding charlatans and religious zealots from undermining a medically prudent definition of death, such legislation may comfort the dying.

Greg Gilbert

Cool, Calif.

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