“The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism. But under the name of ‘liberalism’ they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program, until one day America will be a Socialist nation, without knowing how it happened.”

Socialist Party presidential candidate Norman Thomas

Friday, June 03, 2011

Dr. Death meets his ironic demise

Michigan pathologist and assisted-suicide pioneer Jack Kevorkian died yesterday from complications from pneumonia and kidney problems. He died ironically without assistance.

The media treats the idea of assisted suicide as ghoulish, barbaric, and macabre, but is it? Why shouldn't a person who is at the end of life and in pain be allowed to pass, on his/her own terms? Why are we compelled to heroically fight a guaranteed losing battle, at great cost to, and pain for, our loved ones? What's so bad about saying your goodbyes and going out peacefully?

Doctors' attitudes are that simply possessing the technology to prolong your suffering justifies using it, and of course charging you for it. It doesn't.

As a libertarian I'm generally in favor of assisted suicide. The only question for me is where do you draw the line between who can choose to end life and who cannot? Obviously a cancer victim who has hours or days to live and is in great pain should be able to choose assisted suicide, but how about a distraught 17 year old girl whose boyfriend just dumped her? Probably not. So clearly there have to be regulations, but as free, lucid adults, why is it so bad to make that choice when we are at the end of life anyway?


Bill Lockhart said...

This is so true :Doctors' attitudes are that simply possessing the technology to prolong your suffering justifies using it, and of course charging you for it. This abuse I feel contributes greatly to the cost of medicine. I can give examples if desired.

But back to the real issue. It seems that if you exclude psychiatric diagnoses from the suicide rule, and have a psychiatrist examine the candidate and make sure that they are sane (for example not just depressed) you could give a good bit of leniency, but with controls in place to prevent abuse. Or the attending doctor can just give the patient a month or 2 prescriptions for oral morphine. You can never control what people do at home. This does happen.

Ed said...

Pretty much everybody agrees about end-of-life suicide, but what about early-onset Alzheimers? What if you knew that you had decades of dementia ahead of you, you'd forget your kids, friends, spouse, even yourself. You knew that in a short time you'd be reduced to toddler-in-an-adult-body status, but without recognition of those around you? For me personally, assuming there's no treatment, I might want to end it right there while I'm lucid and can say good bye to my family. Why should I be obligated to fight heroically....screw it, I am out!

Could I be faulted for that?

Bill Lockhart said...

As i said if you are ruled sane and competent and not merely a pysch diagnosis, i would say full steam ahead. Alzheimer's, Huntington's Chorea, Parkinson's. All allowed.

Bill said...

This is a case, IMO, where the "slippery slope" is all too real and far too slippery. Pretty soon it's a "duty to die."