My wife, Betty Nelson Schuld, died on May 8 at a Portland medical center. Her abdominal cramps started in November. She went to the emergency room and was diagnosed with bowel obstruction and pneumonia. After many doctor's appointments and visits to the emergency rooms, she went in for a three-hour bowel blockage surgery. Then we were told there was nothing that could be done and she would die in a few hours. We sat in intensive care for six hours and watched her die.

I didn't find out that she died of intenstinal ischemia until the next day. In her last six months, she was seen by 12 different doctors. None of them came up with the correct diagnosis. She never received a correct diagnosis or treatment.

I don't know if they did anything wrong, but I do know they didn't do anything right. We made the wrong assumption that doctors knew what they were doing. I sent a complaint to the Board of Medical Examiners, which said no laws had been broken. So I assume death from a lack of a correct diagnosis and a lack of proper treatment is okay.

          -- James Schuld, Milwaukie, Oregon
              Letter to the Editor, published in the Portland Oregonian newspaper