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A father’s final, fatal choice: A son struggles to understand why his sister had to die, too

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OAKLAND, Calif. — Decorated by Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower for bravery at the Battle of the Bulge, William Knox Roberts was a fighter. A surgery for liver cancer in 1999 had left him in the clear, but in February, he developed lung congestion that wouldn’t clear.

X-rays revealed chronic pulmonary disease — and a mass on his liver. In July, Kaiser placed him under hospice care.

He confided in his 59-year-old son, Tom, that breathing was like being waterboarded, and…

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