Saturday, June 16, 2007

Jack Kevorkian: The Wrong Poster Boy

In 1991 with his “suicide machine"

For those of us too young to have lived through the heyday of Dr. Jack Kevorkian, Wesley Smith gives us a glimpse of the doctor's ideas, through his own words. Meanwhile, the NYT opines that

he besmirched the movement he hoped to energize. If his antics provided anything of value, it was as a reminder of how much terminally ill patients can suffer and of the need for sane and humane laws allowing carefully regulated assisted suicides. . . .

The fundamental flaw in Dr. Kevorkian's crusade was his cavalier, indeed reckless, approach. He was happy to hook up patients without long-term knowledge of their cases or any corroborating medical judgment that they were terminally ill or suffering beyond hope of relief with aggressive palliative care. . . .

By contrast, Oregon, which has the only law allowing terminally ill adults to request a lethal dose of drugs from a physician, requires two physicians to agree that the patient is of sound mind and has less than six months to live.

Related: Doctors shouldn't medicate themselves and psychiatrist shouldn't treat themselves. If they did, their patient would be a fool—which is exactly what Colin Ferguson, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Charles Manson and Jack Kevorkian were in choosing to represent themselves in their own capital criminal cases.