This is about freedom. It is not consistent with freedom to prohibit doctor assisted suicide. We are against the death penalty, we are against abortion. But we cannot see why a person who is dying and suffering from a terminal illness (or accident) should not be allowed to terminate his own life. Obviously it should be clearly defined what ‘dying and suffering’ is. But assuming it is possible to define this, the person should be free to end his own life.
This is not euthanasia. Euthanasia is terminating somebody else’s life when he is dying and suffering from a terminal illness (or accident). We are not referring to that. We oppose euthanasia. But we fail to see why a person should not have the right to terminate his own life, when he is dying and suffering. We believe it is his freedom to do so. However, he must do it himself. Nobody else should do it for him.
The Hippocratic oath
Probably most readers would agree so far. But it is not always possible to terminate one’s own life. Sometimes we are dying and suffering in hospital and have no access to any ‘deadly drug’ as mentioned in the Hippocratic oath. Then only a doctor can assist the patient and administer the drug. The Hippocratic oath, however, forbids this. The physician has sworn to do no harm, and particularly also not to administer any ‘deadly drug’ to ‘please’ his patient.
However, the original Hippocratic oath obligates the physician to teach his art to no one but the sons of his own teacher. This would mean that only sons of physicians could go to Medical School. How about his own teacher’s daughters? And how about any other student whose father was not a physician? If the oath is adhered to, all these could not study medicine. The Hippocratic oath has therefore been revised. The oath should also be revised so as not to prohibit ‘doctor assisted suicide’ any longer.
Dr. Jack Kevorkian
We believe that at the express request of the patient who is in full possession of his mental faculties, the doctor should be allowed to assist him to terminate his own life, provided he is suffering and dying. The doctor may do so by administering a drug (for instance a pill) which the patient will then have to administer to himself. Dr. Jack Kevorkian often used an infusion which started dripping only after the patient himself had pushed a button.
Dr. Kevorkian broke the taboo and suffered accordingly. We owe it to him that we can now openly discuss this issue. We believe he was right on the issue of Doctor Assisted Suicide, but he should have stopped short of euthanasia.
If anyone should object that ‘doctor assisted suicide’ is not possible when the patient is in a coma, he has a point of course. In such cases a close family-member should be allowed to push the button. But never the doctor. We grant that this boils down to a form of euthanasia under these circumstances, but only as the exception that proves the rule.
This is a very serious topic. Nevertheless, we must never lose our sense of humor. Enjoy the video and try not to laugh!