Voluntary Euthanasia and Dr. Kevorkian

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Assisted Suicide
Euthanasia, possibly one of the most controversial topics in today’s society. A word that derives from the Greek language meaning, “good death”. Euthanasia is a term that refers to the practice of intentionally ending a life in order to relieve pain and suffering. Dr. Jack Kevorkian once stated, “In quixotically trying to conquer death doctors all too frequently do no good for their patients’ “ease” but at the same time they do harm instead by prolonging and even magnifying patients’ dis-ease.” Euthanasia is nothing new to the world, in the 1500’s William Shakespeare portrayed the Roman practice in Julius Caesar by depicting Brutus running into the sword held by Strato. Suffering has always been a part of human existence. Requests to end suffering by means of death through both physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia have occurred since the beginning of medicine. Assisted suicide is more common that most would think, Based on a recent study, 57% of physicians practicing today have received a request for physician-assisted suicide in some form or another.

As Katie Pickert states in TIME U.S. “The issue of whether human beings –and more pointedly, doctors- have the right to help others die has been in the public discourse since before the birth of Christ”(1). In the 5th century B.C. the ancient Greeks and Romans tended to support the concept of assisted suicide. Even as physicians in the ancient times swore to the Hippocratic oath, “I will not give a lethal drug to anyone if

I am asked, nor will I advise such a plan; and similarly I will not give a woman a pessary to cause an abortion” there were still many that did not follow these guidelines and proceeded to assist or kill regardless. Ian Dowbiggin wrote, “Throughout classical antiquity, there was widespread support for voluntary death as opposed to prolonged agony, and physicians complied by often giving their patients the poisons they requested” (A Merciful End). More often...
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