YES my wife shot herself ("Shock death of well-known Port Elizabeth doctor's wife", (August 22)! But if your sensation-seeking reporter had got the facts correct I would not have to reply to his and your disgusting front page article.
Gail was in the final stages of terminal breast cancer, she had lost 20kg because she could not eat from a bowel obstruction. She was nursed at home for the last eight weeks.
During the day both my children and our maid would nurse her, I would take the night shift. Therefore at the time of her death she was not at home alone as the reporter said.
Why did she take her own life? It is logical, she has suffered for long enough!
Gail and I prayed every night for the Lord to end her suffering and every morning both of us would awaken.
If one had a pet suffering like this, one would do the "humane" thing and end the suffering. If I helped Gail, I would be held for murder.
When she did it, you sensationalise it on the front page.
Pray do tell me what interest does this hold for the general public?
Then to link this tragedy my family has gone through to my court case is despicable in the 10th degree. The impression of the article is to insinuate that the court case may have led to her death.
To this I take exception.
There is no doubt that you and the reporter presented this article to sell papers and not news.
If The Herald had any integrity it would publish a factual article on the front page and publish my letter as well.
I am not holding my breath.
Dr Marcus van Heerden, husband and father, Port Elizabeth
THE Herald tried several times to get comment from the Van Heerden family before the report, "Shock death of well-known Port Elizabeth doctor's wife" (August 22), was published, but messages were not returned. We therefore had to rely on information from police, who did not mention that Gail van Heerden was suffering from cancer, and our archives on Dr Marcus van Heerden's court appearances. In light of this information, which has only come to our attention from these letters published today, we can understand how the story could be interpreted as being insensitive. We apologise for this misunderstanding, and offer our condolences to Dr Van Heerden and his family.
The claims that certain information was purposely excluded and that The Herald is biased against the medical profession are unfounded. The report was both newsworthy and accurate. – The editor