Papers: Jack Kevorkian and Physician

Submitted By loriarbaugh
Words: 2720
Pages: 11

Many people feel that it is the doctor’s role to help maintain life but should the right to die be granted to the patient. I feel that people who have no chance at recovery be given the right to choose to continue living or to end their life. Many people are suffering in pain that can from diseases that cannot be cured and have no chance at a normal life. They should have the right to end their suffering. The follow paper will give reasons as to why I believe that Physician assisted suicide should be legal all across the United States.
In The United States it is up the state to legalize physician assisted suicide. There are three states, Oregon, Washington, and Montana that currently allow physician assisted suicide. Other states such as Vermont, New Jersey, Kansas, and Hawaii have bills legalizing physician assisted suicide being considered (Fox news, 2/08). With so many states having this debate the issue is being discussed and hopefully people against physician assisted suicide will begin to change their minds.
It is hard to talk about physician assisted suicide without the mention of Dr. Jack Kevorkian. Dr. Kevorkian believed that a physician should be allowed to end a patient’s life if that is what the patient wanted. However he believed that the patient should be of sound mind to make such a decision and there was no chance of recovery from the disease that they were suffering from. Dr. Kevorkian started practicing physician assisted suicide in 1989 even though he had to go through endless legal battles from the beginning he continued this practice for over ten years. Dr. Kevorkian had gotten any charges dropped on him for his involvement in a case that happened in 1989 involving Janet Adkins. However in 1998 he himself administered a lethal injection to Thomas Youk rather than just providing the patient with the means to end his own life. Dr. Kevorkian also video tapped the death to be later broadcast on national television. Michigan charged the physician with murder for his involvement in the death even though he also video tapped the patient giving their consent to allow him to administer the lethal injection. He clearly demonstrated by asking a series of questions to show that the patient was in their right mind and able to make such a decision and they also understood that they were agreeing that they wanted to end their life. Dr. Kevorkian was convicted of murder and sentenced to 10-25 years in prison even though Mr. Youk’s widow begged the court to show the doctor mercy. After the conviction a poll was taken to find out how people felt about the case. The results of the poll showed that 39% of the people believed that the doctor should not be punished in any way and 27% said that he should have been charged with a lesser crime than murder. Only 19% of the people believed that he should have been charged with murder (Hossieni, 2012).
One of the arguments against the idea of physician assisted suicide is the Hippocratic Oath. The older version of the Hippocratic Oath is as follows: “I swear by Apollo Physician and Asclepius and Hygieia and Panaceia and all the gods and goddesses, making them my witnesses, that I will fulfill according to my ability and judgment this oath and this covenant: To hold him who has taught me this art as equal to my parents and to live my life in partnership with him, and if he is in need of money to give him a share of mine, and to regard his offspring as equal to my brothers in male lineage and to teach them this art—if they desire to learn it—without fee and covenant; to give a share of precepts and oral instruction and all the other learning to my sons and to the sons of him who has instructed me and to pupils who have signed the covenant and have taken an oath according to the medical law, but no one else. I will apply dietetic measures for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and judgment; I will keep them from harm and…