Should smokers and the obese be denied coronary artery bypass surgery? – No

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"Should smokers and the obese be denied coronary artery bypass surgery? - No"
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I am the person you wanted to kill last month.

On May 25, I had a quadruple bypass operation. It is probable that it was the result of my having smoked for 46 years.

Mind you, there have been other, more dangerous, things that I have done in my life. In the late 1960's I spent a year fighting in Vietnam. In 1970, I covered an explosion at the Humble Oil refinery in Linden, NJ - after signing a release because of the possibility of further blasts. In 1982, when the Israeli Army fought the PLO in Lebanon, I went in with it as a reporter. In 2006, I spent 34 days living on a kibbutz literally meters from the Lebanese border as Hizbollah fired rockets at us.

I escaped all of these without injury but the cigarettes got me. For that reason, if you had your way, I would have been allowed to die.

It is not important to you that I have two children. No, you would leave them without a father for my sin of having gotten addicted to nicotine as a teenager.

It doesn't matter to you that my 91-year-old mother would have had to bury her son. In fact, you might well feel that it would be a fair punishment for her - as she has smoked for over 70 years with no heart problems at all.

The pleasure that I like to think that I have brought to people worldwide with the humor and satire columns that I have written over the years would stop. That, too, is of little import to you - after all, they should not smile at words written by a smoker.

Perhaps you object to the death penalty for murderers and rapists. You feel that it is a cruel punishment and, after all, violent criminals are human beings, too. The death penalty for smokers, however, seems very fair in your eyes.

Who else, I wonder, should die in order to meet your particular sense of morality? I note that you would include the obese - even though many of them are not overweight because of their dietary habits.

Perhaps you feel that American soldiers who are injured in battle should not receive medical aid - it is a volunteer army and they could have chosen not to enlist.

You might want to deny medical treatment to anyone with a sexually transmitted disease. True, they may have been infected by their husbands or wives, but they were not required to have sex at all.

Someone who is in an automobile accident may, in your eyes, also be turned away from hospitals. Who forced him to be in the car in the first place?

The best part of all of this, of course, is that your health insurance premiums will go down. With the money that you save at the cost of the lives of others, you could make your life much more pleasurable. Indeed, you might save up enough over the years to buy that boat that you have long wanted. Of course, should it capsize at sea, don't expect the Coast Guard to save you. You chose to sailing - and it would be a tremendous waste of money to send ships and helicopters to pull you out of the ocean.

More about this author: Josh Wilde

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