Euthanasia: The Strange Case of Dr. Kevorkian
Physicians face an ethical dilemma when confronting their patients who are suffering. Many have to choose between abiding by the law or ignoring the law and acting on their own beliefs by assisting in a patient’s suicide. Dr. Jack Kevorkian is certainly one doctor who has taken the illegal route in assisting in many of his patients suicides. In “Killer Doc,” William F. Buckley provides a brief overview of the case and informs his audience of the shocking incidents of Kevorkian’s performed euthanasia on Thomas Youk. In “Offering a Helping Hand to those Who Long to Die,” Mark Nichols compares the famous euthanasia doctors, Dr. Kevorkian and Austrailia’s Dr. Philip Nitschke.
Dr. Kevorkian was an avid supporter of euthanasia. He believed people shouldn’t have to suffer if they chose not to. As a result, the unlawful physician would rig machinery so that the patient had the opportunity to kill him/herself. Buckley introduced the case of Thomas Youk in which his death was taped on a home video. The documentary was later shown on 60 minutes. First, Kevorkian attempted to emotionally affect his audience by showing the anguish and distress of Youk, who suffered from Lou Gehrig’s disease. His pulmonary lungs were so weak that he feared he would choke to death.
“Notwithstanding poor You’s incapacitation, Kevorkian did get him to write his signature not once, but twice, on successive declarations that he invited death and was begging Kevorkian to give him death” (Buckley 70). Buckley makes a noteworthy point of how Youk could sign his name, but couldn’t prompt his death from Kevorkian’s system. Kevorkian was later arrested and tried. The remainder of the article focuses on censoring this type of video that showed the killing of another human being. Buckley states how in the sixties, “snuff films” were accepted among the community as evidence and expression. However, nowadays, it is strongly opposed since a felony is taking place.
In “Offering a Helping Hand to Those Who Long to Die,” Nichols starts...