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The problem with late-in-life medical tests? Death isn’t optional

The problem with late-in-life medical tests? Death isn’t optional
A patient undergoes a cardiac stress test in Augusta, Ga., in 2014. (Michael Holahan / AP)

To the editor: Regarding Patt Morrison’s interview with author Barbara Ehrenreich on death and successful aging, it seems that as we get older everything falls apart.

A big problem with medical procedures in our senior years is that each one gets the patient well enough to go home, but then the next medical breakdown occurs that sends us back to the hospital for the next temporary fix. This can be confirmed by looking at the repeated hospital admissions for many elderly patients.

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As a medical professional said a number of years ago, the problem with Americans is that they think death is optional.

Georgia Jessup, Santa Monica

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To the editor: While I have long had respect for both Morrison and Ehrenreich, I am at a loss to understand the views on aging expressed in the Feb. 13 interview.

At age 82, having survived both open-heart surgery and cancer, I do have some insight into this time of life.

For starters, we are blessed to live at a time of advanced medicine that can deal successfully with those kind of problems. I am an advocate of single-payer coverage for all Americans so we all can have the advantage of these medical services.

Treatments do not guarantee eternal youth, but they certainly change the odds of having additional years of at least relatively good health — certainly a worthy goal.

Only when an treatment for an illness does not provide a road back to reasonable life will I reject all the medical profession can provide.

Irving Cramer, Venice

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