I think that one of the biggest miscarriages of Justice that I witnessed in my lifetime was that of Dr. Jack Kevorkian receiving a 10 to 25 year sentence for wanting to help end the suffering of a helpless human-being. Dubbed “Dr. Death” by the media frenzy that followed the actions of the controversial physician, he received this sentence for helping to end the life of 52 year old Thomas Youk. who was fighting a hopeless battle with Lou Gehrig’s disease. Dr.
Kevorkian set up his “suicide machine” In order for the person to knowllngly and voluntarily disperse the chemical concoction that would end the suffering of the victim his family. Although Dr. Kevorkian assisted In the death of 35 people, It was the Thomas Youk case that brought national attention and thus the wrath of the criminal Justice system of the state of Michigan. Similar to phsyclan-sulclde Is the Issue of both voluntary and Involuntary active euthanasia. Both of these Involve carrying out the death of another human being, who either knowingly or unknowllngly makes that decision.
What makes the case of Dr. Kevorkian different is that he met with all of his patients and recorded the fact that they were coherent and able to make their own decision about the ending their life. I am guessing that when the Thomas Youk story aired on 60 Minutes in 1 998, it brought national scutiny and a mockery of the laws in the eyes of the Michigan criminal justice system. I wanted to better understand this concept the particulars about this case and what the overwhelming public opinion on the topic was nationally and within the state of Michigan.
Thomas Young had been suffering for years with Lou Gehrig’s diesease, a slow killing disease that eventually takes al dignity away from the individual. In recent months he had been losing major parts of his lung functions and been choking on his own salive. This man, together with his family, made a conscious decision to end the suffering that came with this terrible disease. Many members of his family spoke in support of Dr. Kevorkian at the trial and during the sentencing producure. Youk’s brother Terry said ” Kevorkian was the only person with the “courage and fortitude to defy those indequate and unjust laws. According to the article nearly 2 to 1 Michigan residents supported the law banning this type of action by a physican an this Is pretty close to the national level regarding this topic. According to our text “A survey of 988 terminally ill patients found that 60. % said they they supported euthanasian or physician-assisted suicide In general, but only 10. 6% reported seriously considering it for themselves” (Rathus, p. 397) I think this goes to show that despite the fact that many people support It, they are reluctant to pursue It for many types of reasons.
I Imagine that one of the most popular reasons Is linked to relglous faith and how that would be viewed In the eyes of God. I guess everyone has their personal opinion on the matter and Ilkewlse should have their personal choice on how to die with dignity without putting a further emotional and financial burden upon their family. I never understood that as a society we can be considered humane by putting an animal to death if it is dealing with a terminal disease, but when this same type of thought comes to people, the attitude drastically changes.
Dr. Kevorkian served 8 years of this sentence for what I view as a total injustice Schiavo case, where she was left on life support for many years, causing a legal battle between her family and her husband have brought many “end of life” issue to the forefront. I am an advocated for personal choice on many matters and I certainly would have to agree with Dr. Kevorkian, Thomas Youk, and the many other people he elped to die with dignity. I think that the major mistake that Dr.
Kevorkain made was his willingness to bring this topic to national media. Although this brought attention to the topic at hand, it also aggravated the authorities of the state where her performed the physician-assisted suicide. Another aspect of the Youk case that makes it unique is that Dr. Kevorkain actually started the “suicide machine” because Youk could not physically do it because of his illness. This minor detail made the case more Justifiable in a legal manner since he actually initiated the chemicals to flow in to Youk’s body.
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