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Wednesday's Letters to the Editor

EDITOR: All surgeries, even the most common, have risks. People can and do die from appendectomies, C-sections, and, yes, tonsillectomies.

The entire situation of 13-year-old Jahi McMath of Oakland is tragic, for her, the family, the doctors and the hospital. But it’s not unique. These situations happen, but they are usually private family matters, not a nationwide media circus.

The most telling sentence in Tuesday’s article (“Girl to stay on life support”) is that “the mother doesn’t believe the child is dead because her heart is still beating.” Her heart would continue to beat for a few minutes even if the life support was stopped. Heartbeat alone is not “life.” There will be no breathing, no brain activity. The heart will stop after a few minutes once no oxygen is reaching the heart muscle.

There are multiple losers in this situation. The family has lost a child, suddenly and without warning. News reports indicate that the news was not relayed to them in an empathetic manner that has since degenerated into an “us against them” situation. They have lost the opportunity to accept the death and mourn privately.

But the hospital, the doctors and the staff who are now court-ordered to continue caring for this girl are also losers. The judge can order life support to continue, and the press can state “the family was given a week,” but that week is not a gift to everyone. The actual physical care of a deceased person who is being kept alive is taxing, demoralizing, stressful and very expensive.

SHERRILL DUNNING-RILEY

Santa Rosa

Heartwarming stories

EDITOR: A day without Bob Padecky in the sports page is like a day without sunshine. It has been such a pleasure to read Bob’s positive and heartwarming articles about some of the terrific people (adults, teens and kids) who live in the North Bay.

With so much negativity in the world and in sports, Padecky’s focus on the good has always been appreciated. Bob, enjoy your well-deserved retirement, but know that you will be truly missed by your readers and fans.

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