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.

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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