Loud & Clear: Listeners react to coverage of ‘death with dignity’ legislation

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CPR’s “Colorado Matters” received a huge response from listeners following last week’s conversations about the issue of physician-assisted suicide, which supporters call "death with dignity." Listen to the segment by clicking here.

In it, Julie Selsberg, of Denver, shared the story of her father, Charles, who this year suffered from ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. It left him barely able to move or talk. He choked on his food. Machines had to help keep him alive.

In February, he wrote a letter to The Denver Post saying that he wanted to die. The letter was also a plea to state lawmakers, for them to change the law to allow physicians to help future terminally ill patients end their lives.

Lacking that option himself, he decided to stop eating and drinking. It took him nearly two weeks to pass away. Julie Selsberg told CPR that his death in early March was "brutal" for him.

Now, Charles Selsberg's dying wish could come true. Two state lawmakers read his letter to the Denver Post and plan to introduce a bill in the upcoming legislative session to let terminally ill people get help taking their own lives.

The Colorado Catholic Conference will oppose the effort, according to its director, Jenny Kraska.

Many listeners praised the segment, including Deryn Ruth Wagner, of Boulder, who offered thanks to Julie Selsberg for sharing her experience. Kirk Ayers Gray also wrote in to say, “Thanks for this excellent and touching broadcast.”

Jared Johnson of Brighton wrote that his own father was diagnosed with ALS five years ago and that our segment hit home for him.

Rossi went on to tell us that she’s wary of any legislation, for fear it could overcomplicate things.

The bill is still being drafted, so that remains to be seen.

Hear Julie Selsberg and Jenny Kraska of the Colorado Catholic Conference by clicking here. You can also leave your comments at the end of the story.