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Should We Go Gentle Into The Night?

985 words - 4 pages

Courtney Willis Professor Dursema English 1010 10 November 2014Should We Go Gentle into the Night?Imagine no longer being able to get out of bed, to eat, or to go to the bathroom without assistance - needing someone to clothe and bathe you every single day. Can we really call that living? When it's your time to leave this earth, is that dying with dignity? Let's say, for example, that you have been diagnosed with a terminal or chronic illness and are in extreme physical pain. Would you want the right to ask your doctor to end your suffering, or is that going too far? This is euthanasia: a topic that has been the subject of debate for many years.Euthanasia, also known as "assisted suicide," is an issue that was brought to light by Dr. Jack Kevorkian. Dr. Kevorkian was a controversial activist who had tried to make euthanasia legal under the argument that everyone deserved to die humanely. There had been a lot of arguments over the issue, and legislatures have explored what the practice involves and what the moral implications of assisted suicide were. Although euthanasia remains illegal in the US, PAD (or "physician aid in dying") is legal in Washington, Oregon, and Montana. The difference between euthanasia and PAD is that while euthanasia involves a third-party-administrator, PAD leaves the choice up to the patient to take it.Dr. Kevorkian was the first in the United States to medically explore choosing a time to die with the help of a doctor. He was born in Royal Oak, Michigan and attended the University of Michigan. During his time there, he saw many patients suffering. He wanted to be able to end their suffering in a humane way, especially in cases where there was no cure available. Dr. Kevorkian stated, "I'm going to do it right" in a New York Times article published in 2007. According to a 2011 New York Times article, in 1990 he aided 130 people in death using a machine of his titled the Thanatron, which is Greek for death machine.Kevorkian's practice of euthanasia earned him the nicknamed, "Doctor Death." He had to perform these procedures in secrecy due to their nature. No church or hospital would host this practice of his, which forced him to perform the assisted suicides in his Volkswagen van. After a while, he grew tired of secrecy and brought his practice out into the public sphere.By publicizing his work, in which he wrote about the need for assisted suicide and the humaneness of having a dignified death, a great debate was started in the United States. This was his attempt at a more elaborate and graphic attempt to draw attention from the public.In 1995, Dr. Kevorkian performed an assisted suicide on a man who had Lou Gehrig's disease and caught it all on film. The recording was shown on 60 Minutes in order to draw the attention of the courts. It caught their attention....

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