LETTERS

December 28 1987

LETTERS

December 28 1987

LETTERS

Unselfish donations

Before reading “The transplant revolution” (Cover, Nov. 23), I had been revolted by the thought of donating my organs. I was not aware of the shortage of donors and the possibility that I could save a life some day. Since my eyes were opened to the need out there, I have signed my licence and eliminated my selfish attitude. I hope many others have done the same.

-CINDY CARR,

Dresden, Ont

Thank you for the well-written and well-documented article on organ donations. I was, however, disappointed that you failed to mention a possible solution to the dilemma facing many Canadians who need transplants. It seems that if 88 per cent of Canadians support the concept of organ donation and only about 10 per cent of organs actually get donated, we ought to consider the implied consent laws already established in many European countries, including Italy, France and Sweden. The implied consent law would permit doctors to remove healthy organs from the dead, providing the deceased had not signed a form stating he or she did not wish the doctor to do so. These records could never be overlooked since the deceased’s medical records must be reviewed before his or her organs are removed.

-KEVIN LITTLE, Halifax

Thanks for the article on Dr. Wilbert Keon in your transplant cover story

(“The consummate surgeon”). Four years ago Dr. Keon and his skilled team performed triple-bypass surgery on my mother, Bernice. She suffered a heart attack on her 65th birthday a few months before and had been given less than a fifty-fifty chance of recovery. Heart surgery is a very stressful experience for all concerned, and I remember vividly the scene in the waiting room immediately after. Dr. Keon was very calm, kind and direct as he explained the success of the operation and the future prognosis for my mother. The relief we felt was laced with fatigue that morning, and as I thanked this man, I asked him how he was feeling after performing such difficult work. I recall his face registering surprise, as if no one had ever thought to ask him that question before. I am very grateful to this humble surgeon for his skill, compassion and leadership. Thanks to him, my mother has enjoyed years of continued presence in my family. -ROXANNE STANDEFER,

Toronto

Tradition’s powerful force

How fascinating to read the Nov. 16 cover article, “What women want now.” From your story, it would appear that I am the only woman in Canada who has chosen to be a “traditional” homemaker who wants to raise her children herself. If the women’s movement is indeed floundering, it is because the powers that move it have failed to recognize that the role of wife and mother is a powerful force that many do not choose to turn their backs on. If this role is not seen as equal by the women’s movement, a good majority of women will be alienated.

-BRENDA RINGDAHL, Calgary

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To smoke or not to smoke

In answer to Diane Francis on “Taking the tobacco war too far” (Column, Nov. 30), emissions from the internal-combustion engine are a hazardous byproduct of a useful machine. Cigarette smoke is the hazardous byproduct of a habit that is totally useless and destructive in the first place. Its emissions happen indoors, where innocent persons have no choice but to inhale them. Must we keep the tobacco industry going in order to avoid sideswiping commercial and cultural enterprises? That is equal to keeping a war going to give employment to the ammunitions plant workers. Have we forgotten how many lives are destroyed annually by hotel and other fires caused by careless smoking? It makes sense that smokers should pay higher insurance premiums, both for fire and health.

-MARY GIESBRECHT FRIESEN, Winnipeg

Diane Francis’s logic seems somewhat hazy—smoke haze, no doubt. One would, indeed, need to be “singularly naive” to attempt to make a case from the argument that if cigarette smoking merits an outright ban, then so should the internalcombustion engine be outlawed because of emissions. The perceived benefits of the engine are many. Just what are the benefits from cigarette smoking? What an inept comparison. And if further studies on second-hand smoke confirm health hazards to nonsmokers, just how would a government go about making smokers pay for the third-party medical costs and lost productivity? But Bill C-51 deals only with advertising bans. A study of the fiveyear Norwegian ad ban does, on the contrary, indicate decreased use among young people, especially girls.

-DON MASSEY,

Warkworth, Ont.

While I liked Diane Francis’s column, I must take exception to her agreement with the politicians’ claim that smokers place a larger burden on society’s pocket by requiring more medical care. This is utter nonsense. It completely forgets the fact that we all have to die. Before Walter Raleigh popularized tobacco use among Europeans, nobody smoked—but they all died. Smokers may get lung cancer, but about as many nonsmokers will sooner or later die from any of the many other varieties of this ailment, if they are lucky enough to escape Alzheimer’s. Nonsmokers may live a few years longer, mostly as unproductive inmates of some draggy oldpeople’s home at a tremendous cost to society in old age, Canada and other pensions, as well as medical costs. As a smoking senior myself, I am a member of probably the “smokiest” generation in history, and statisticians tell us that in a few decades we will have more old people and not enough young ones to care for them. So what’s all the excitement about us having a bit of fun following the gentle whirl of smoke as it rises toward heaven—to where we will, most of us hope, soon follow? -ROBERT KOCI,

Brechin, Ont.

Expressing disappointment

I am responding to Brian Demaine’s letter to the editor “Scoundrels in skirts” (Nov. 30) regarding Shere Hite’s latest book. I would like to point out that the salient issue, which appears lost on Demaine, is not that men are bad, but that women have a right to express how they feel. If large groups of women are disappointed in men, people like Demaine would do better to take note instead of reacting as though they have been personally attacked. — ARLEEN PARÉ,

Vancouver

Letters are edited and may be condensed. Writers should supply name, address and telephone number. Mail correspondence to: Letters to the Editor, Maclean’s Magazine, Maclean Hunter Bldg., 777 Bay St., Toronto, Ont. M5W 1A7.