In regard to “The Challenge of Our Age” series: Part of the challenge is educating people that it is not only OK, but can be more appropriate, to say “no” to some surgeries, chemotherapy or procedures.

Had the 85-year-old woman in one case study presented by your paper (“Navigating a sea of ailments just as resilience wanes,” March 9) said “no” to an emergency abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, had she accepted that it was her time, then the end would have come swiftly, and she and her husband would not be dealing with her prolonged hospital stays and her revolving in-and-out of hospital care for the few years that followed and continue to play out.

The challenge of health care professionals is to help people make those tough choices when severe illness occurs. We need to be honest with people about quality-of-life issues, especially when patients have life-robbing additional disorders.

With regard to medical care, in this country we fear voicing honesty lest we be accused of being politically incorrect. And, in all honesty, we need to question why we invest so much money on health care during the last few years of our lives.

It’s not about “killing Grandma”; it’s about Grandma living her final years with some comfort and dignity. When I’m 85, unless I’m running 5Ks and prancing to the gym daily, don’t touch my abdominal aneurysm!

Renee Robbins, R.N.



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