preview

Assisted Suicides

Satisfactory Essays
Assisted Suicides

The Washington Post September 2-8, 1996

Picture yourself in this situation. You go to the doctor for a routine physical. You look fine. You feel good. All those exhausting workouts at the gym are finally starting to pay off and you actually stuck to that low fat, high vitamin diet you're doctor recommended. You have never felt better. You are essentially the epitome of a healthy, fit human being. Then, out of nowhere, you are diagnosed with a disorder of the nervous system accompanied by chronic fatigue syndrome. The illness is permanent and there is no cure. It will only progress and worsen with time, and all you can do is wait. What would you do?
If you were 42-year-old Judith Curren, a nurse and mother of two small children, you'd be in close contact with the infamous suicide assessor, Dr. Jack
Kevorkian, a.k.a. "Doctor Death," discussing your "options." However, according to an editorial published in The Washington Post, entitled "38 Assisted
Suicides," many people believe that when it comes to matters such as life and death, there are no options. The decision to live or die is made by God.
Judith Curren didn't agree. With the assistance of Dr. Kevorkian, she died and the retired pathologist presided at his 38th assisted suicide, fairly confident that he will not be prosecuted or even suffer public disapproval.
Many of the people who have sought out Dr. Kevorkian have been terribly ill and suffering, with no hope of long-term survival. Their stories offered examples that built public sympathy for this cause. But from the beginning, even among observers who believe that the desperately sick should be given help to die, there have been questionable cases. For example, a woman in her fifties allegedly suffering from early Alzheimer's disease was fit enough to play tennis with her adult son shortly before dying. Another-said to have had a painful, progressive illness-was found to be free of disease by the county medical examiner. The article argued this point, "Is it in any way merciful, compassionate, or 'healing' (a favorite word of Kevorkian fans) to assist in the suicide of a middle-aged woman who is tired and depressed and married to a man whom she recently accused of attacking her and who then delivers her to Dr. Kevorkian?
Pain is controllable. Depression and fatigue can be ameliorated by drugs.
Violent husbands can be prosecuted and divorced. Suicide in such a case is unreasonable. A doctor's help in that course is unconscionable."
I had mixed feelings on this editorial because I take into consideration both sides of the argument.
Get Access