“This is a very special day for me. It’s the day of my release, the
release from suffering, the release from the torment of my body.” Those were the
words of the very first Canadian to die through the process of doctor assisted-
suicide, with the doctor being Jack Kevorkian. His name was Austin Bastable, and
in the last few years of his life he became a crusader for the right to die with
It has been only in these last few years, with the introduction of
people such as Dr. Jack Kevorkian and Austin Bastable, that the world has begun
to see the benefits made possible by the act of assisted-suicide. The prevention
of suffering and pain made possible through this medicide, regarded as immoral
for years, affects not only the patient but their immediate and distant
relatives as well. Kevorkian told a judicial court the same one day in late
April, early May: “Suicide is not the aim. Eliminating suffering is the aim, but
you pay a price with the loss of a life.” Although Kevorkian’s methods have
succeeded with some difficulty, in the USA, their northern neighbour, our great
dominion of Canada, disallows the administration of this relieving practice. In
our grand country assisted suicide is illegal.
Cases of other terminally ill persons have surfaced throughout the news,
the most prominent being those related to Dr. “Death” Kevorkian. We don’t often
think on what a terminally ill person might be like. They might be suffering
from Lou Gehrig’s Disease. They might be suffering from multiple sclerosis. They
might be suffering from any number of other types of injuries and diseases. What
we don’t think about are the cases that bring out our most empathetic feelings.
Take the case of one Christine Busalacchi, who was so severely injured
in an accident that she now lives in what her father calls a “persistent
vegetative condition.” Vegetative is precisely the word to describe her
condition. She has lost enough weight to cause her to appear as someone else.
She has her right leg bent with her knee always in the air and her left foot is
frozen in a quite unnatural manner.
Euthanasia is the Best Option
Euthanasia is the Best Option
Euthanasia is a very controversial topic. People argue as to whether or not a
person who is terminally ill, or handicap, should have the right to die by euthanasia.
People say that dying by euthanasia is to die with dignity, instead of living an
artificial life on respirators and other life support machines. If a person is
terminally ill, and there is nothing
anyone can do for them, why should they have to suffer? Not only do they suffer
but their family does also. They will watch as their condition gets worse, and
then the vision in their head of the loved one who has finally died many months
after they were diagnose as terminally ill, is a memory of a person lying there
helpless, not able to feed themselves, get out of bed, or talk to you.
One notable euthanasia case would be Sue Rodrigous. She had a disease known as
Lou Gehrig’s disease or ALS, which is a rare incurable disease of the nervous
system. ALS gradually destroys the nerves that control the muscles. The results
of which are weakness, paralysis, and eventually death. That is what Sue
Rodrigous was suffering from for well over a year. Knowing that her condition
was only going to get worse, and eventually, after the pain and suffering, would
result in death, Sue wanted to die. She wanted people to remember her as a
lively healthy woman, not just a body lying helpless in a hospital bed. With
that thought in mind, Sue went to court to fight for right to die by euthanasia.
The courts did not agree with her though.
Dr. Jack Kevorkian, proposed the creation of a new medical specialist, the
“obitiarist,” who would assist terminally ill patients to take their own lives,
subject to strict guidelines.
His patient also suffered from Lou Gehrig’s disease. She was in bad shape,
struggling to hold her head up, could not talk, and had to communicate using a
computer keyboard. She was deteriorating quickly. “She was very smart,” he
said, a note of sadness entering his voice. Kevorkian built a machine called
the “mercitron,” a jumble of tubes and bottles that would allow patients with
little mobility to inject themselves with a lethal cocktail of drugs.