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Profoundly Disturbed

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I am writing this on behalf of myself and five close friends who have spent over two years discussing and working through various issues concerning end-of-life issues. We read with interest the article in North Coast Journal "Profoundly Disturbing" (Jan. 12).

Having worked on our own Advance Directives, it was therefore "profoundly disturbing" to read about our county's attempt to wrench the decisions stated in Mr. Magney's Advance Directive away from he and his wife. We cannot blame the party who first made the mandated report on Mr. Magney when he was evaluated at the hospital and found he was malnourished with pressure sores. It is possible that Mr. Magney chose self-starvation to hasten his death. But what followed from the county sounds at the least inhumane, and possibly illegal. We would think that the county is lucky that Judy Magney did not sue for pain and suffering in addition to the legal fees.

Mr. Magney's life was prolonged against his own, his wife's and his sister's wishes, as well as his physician's advice. We wonder if this was done to fulfill the personal agenda of Ms. Angus and possibly other county employees. We call for an investigation into the Humboldt County Adult Protective Services Office, and Ms. Angus in particular. If she cannot respect the legal protection against unwanted suffering stated in Advance Directives, she has no business working in that capacity. We also call for the county to acknowledge its part in attempting to defend the "appalling and inhumane" actions of its staff. They need to support the publishing of this case and support any action that would clarify future cases like this.

It is time for us as a society to acknowledge that death is the logical conclusion of every life, and to embrace ways that allow people to dictate their anticipated desires.

Debby Harrison, Fieldbrook


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