Jack Kevorkian is dead

It’s the end of a tremendously ethical man:

Jack Kevorkian built his suicide machine using parts gathered from flea markets and stashed it in a rusty Volkswagen van.

But it was Kevorkian’s audacious attitude that set him apart in the debate over whether gravely ill people could seek help ending their lives. The retired pathologist who said he oversaw the deaths of 130 people burned state orders against him, showed up at court in costume and dared authorities to stop him or make his actions legal. He didn’t give up until he was sent to prison.

Kevorkian, who died Friday at a Michigan hospital at 83, insisted suicide with the help of a medical professional was a civil right.

The justifications for assisted suicide hold up – and they’re consistent. The justification for harvesting the organs of the brain dead, or for allowing those in comas to die with dignity, or even for administering morphine, is fundamentally the same across the board. It is not quantity of life that matters, but rather quality. Kevorkian recognized that where so many were so stubbornly blind and ignorant. He will be missed.

“You’ll hear people say, `Well, [physician assisted suicide] in the news again, it’s time for discussing this further.’ No, it isn’t. It’s been discussed to death,” he told The Associated Press. “There’s nothing new to say about it. It’s a legitimate, ethical medical practice as it was in ancient Rome and Greece.”

15 Responses

  1. His aim was always to eliminate tremendous sufferring in the terminally ill. He never took ant money to help them.

  2. Any money…

  3. If people want to kill themselves I don’t have a problem with that.

    I have a problem with his doing it while it’s illegal and uncontrolled, who is really to say that all of those people were competent to make the choice or weren’t pressured into it?

    If it is ever to be legal there will have to be controls and operating without them is far from ethical, regardless of the merits (or lack) of suicide by doctor.

  4. Suicide is illegal. They should arrest those who kill themselves, try, convict and execute them to teach them a lesson.

    Who should be the control on assisted suicide? A judge? A medical doctor us more qualified.

  5. Who should be the control? This from a guy who thinks regulation is the answer to everything. You don’t think there needs to be some kind of oversight to ensure those given assistance to kill themselves are of sound mind to make that decision?

    Who or what that would be I don’t know, but the fact is this jacky boy broke the law, and there is little evidence that all of his acts were ethical.

    No oversight = unethical. If it’s ever going to be legalized there have to be standards. Simply anyone an MD wants to kill is not a sound policy Bob, no matter how qualified they are.

  6. Politicians are not qualified to set standards. I would rather see the medical society do it, like they do for most medical procedures.

  7. I have no issues with that, it would just need to be codified to require that be done and reviewed periodically.

    My only point was this guy is not a hero, he was a lone wolf doing what he damn well pleased. Regardless of his intentions, it’s not acceptable to have doctors assisting people in killing themselves for any reason, without the proper oversight.

    While I personally find the idea of suicide abhorrent, it’s just really none of my business. I just hesitate to give doctors a free hand to murder people than claim it was what the person wanted.

  8. I saw no evidence that he murdered anyone. He enabled terminally ill people to do it themselves.

  9. Not all of them. I also question his motivations based on his reported strange fascination with watching people die as a medical student, although that isn’t proof of anything.

    In any case, handing someone a syringe or doing it yourself still isn’t my issue. Enabling people to do this when it’s illegal and there are no competency tests is my issue.

    Also, I do believe there was at least one occasion where he administered the “treatment” and several people who were at not risk of dieing. But I don’t care, because as I said, its not my business if people want to off themselves, more bacon for me.

  10. I’m done though, we aren’t far apart on this one and there isn’t anyone else to argue with at this point.

    Good chat.

  11. Jack Kevorikian is on the right side of this issue, and I mourn the worlds lost of someone who put himself in prison for a worthy cause.

    He normally set up death machines for patients, but the reason his went to prison is he videotaped himself ending the suffering of a patient as a challenge to the government.

    I have my qualms with his insistence that medical boards – not families of patients – determine who deserves that civil right to end their own life, but that’s a minor aspect of this issue.

    Thank you Dr. K.

  12. Your are a liberatarian Nate? A libertarian who believes in this case that standards
    and regulations are needed? Who sanctions these procedures if not government???? Shall we leave it up to the medical industry without the interference of Governemnt? Who protects us from Greed?

    I’m an advocate for For Dr. Kevorkian cause….the end of needless suffering.

  13. As long as it is the patient deciding the suffering needs to be ended, than I have no problems.

    And yes, I believe that a reasonable role for the government is to enforce property rights, specifically here the ownership of ones body.

  14. The majority of his assisted suicides were not illegal.

  15. Hmmm. I fully agree that assisted suicide is perfectly reasonable and ethical. However, I also agree with Nate that, because terminally ill patients may be mentally compromised, it’s also perfectly reasonable and ethical to point out that assisted suicides should be done with the oversight of family and physicians – not by any one physician acting on his own accord.

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