, Research Paper
The Nature of Dying with Honor
In the ancient days, when a person became so ill that every inch of their body throbbed in agonizing pain, and every breath they took drained energy from their soul, they would come to a decision for someone to help them die with respect and honor. Kings, queens, princes, nobles, and even common farmers would exit the world by no natural means, but by means of self inflicted death. If life got too unbearable, and if they were suffering from a slow painful death, they would tell their families that they wanted to die and the family would arrange for a simple end to their pain. This is called Euthanasia. It has been practiced since the dawn of time, and is still in use today. The past cultures saw it as a way to die a dignified death, but for some strange reason, the society of today sees it as a bad historical habit, which needs to be broken. Many societal groups have treasured the event of death, they have seen it as a celebration, and to go through that celebration with pain and emotional trauma is something that not desired for such a time. (Martin)
Dr. Kevorkian has been practicing medicine in the United States for over twenty years. He has many well-earned credentials to back up his practice, yet he is one of the most controversial doctors of the twentieth century. America has seemed to have given up the time honored tradition of a respectable death. Dr. Kevorkian is just helping terminally ill patients achieve their last wish, which is ending their pain that the earthly life has subjected them too. (Caplan ) They find that with assisted suicide, they can end the pain for themselves, and their family who has watched them suffered. Kevorkian has been put on trial many times in several states, but was never had to serve a sentence because there are no binding laws that hold him from helping his patients achieve Euthanasia.
In 1996, Glasgow University compiled a survey under the authoritative direction of Professor David Donnison, to see where the doctors stood on the issue of assisted suicide. The survey was conducted from over 1400 doctors. The question they were asked was this: if assisted suicide was legal, would they administer euthanasia on the patient? 86% of them said they would if the patient had an incurable diagnosis and was only alive on life support and the family agreed to it. 82% said they would if the patient was dying of an incurable and painful disease and they asked for it. 56% said they would if the patient was in a coma and never expected to regain consciousness and the relatives agreed to it. 44% said they would if the patient had an incurable painful, but non-life threatening, disease, and they asked for it. 22% said they would if the patient was not ill but was tired of living and just wished to die painlessly. As the statistics indicated in this study, Euthanasia is a desired course of action that doctors would wish to take.
Professor Laurence Tribe, of Harvard University, stated, the terminally ill have the right to decide the amount of agony that is enough…not to be a creature of the state but to have some voice. (Carelli 3) It is argued all over from conservators to bible scholars, to fundamentalists to Calvinists, about the right decision of assisted suicide. But what all the many people fail to see is that it is not their decision, it is that person who lies awake every night screaming in pain and just wishing for a way out for the agony where modern medicine has failed. No other man has that right to decide for that person their fate. It is a very personal decision.
Caplan, Art. Can High Court Rule Over Death? Philidelphia Inquire. 12 October 1996.
Carelli, Richard. Doctors, Dying, and the Law: The Legalization of Physician Assisted Suicide. http://www.wa.gov/wsl/ti/ti_suic.htm
Donnison, David. Not Just an Issue of Life and Death. http://netlink.co.uk/users/vess/97-1dvd.html
Martin, Frederick. Euphanasia from the Beginning. http:\www.cdient.orgertmaxrtpg.htm