Jack Kevorkian, who was also known as Dr. Death, was an American pathologist, euthanasia activist, painter, author, composer, and an instrumentalist. He is known mostly for his beliefs in the right for a patient who is terminally ill to die assisted by a physician, or assisted suicide. It is documented that he assisted 130 patients in committing suicide before he was convicted of murder in the second degree and the delivery of a controlled substance on March 26, 1999.
What Jack Kevorkian did was basically assist terminally ill patients in their own suicide. He would have patients who were terminally ill come to him and tell him that they wanted to die. They would ask for his help. Before he would do anything, he made sure that he had their full consent and that they knew and understood what was happening and the procedure. He assisted two patients in their deaths by hooking them up to the “Thanatron”, or “Death Machine” from the Greek word thanatos, meaning “death”.
He would hook these patients up to the machine and give them a button which allowed them to administer the medication themselves that would end their lives. Other patients he assisted by the “Mercitron” or “Mercy Machine”. This involved a gas mask that was fed by a canister filled with carbon monoxide. I believe that, in a way, Kevorkian was justified in his “assisted suicides”. It should be legal for physicians to assist patients in ending their lives, under certain circumstances of course.
I believe that if a patient who is terminally ill with no chance of recovery tells their physician that they are ready to die, he or she should be able to help that person end their life after following through a few evaluations. The doctor should first check the patient’s medical record, confirm that they are terminally ill, require them to have a psychiatric evaluation, have a few meetings with the patient and their family, make them wait a certain amount of time after being diagnosed, and having them thoroughly read and sign a consent form. I believe that as long as the procedure is humane and painless, it should be okay.