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The Controversial Topic of Assisted Suicide and Why Dr. Kevorkian is a Hero

The issue of assisted suicide is a controversial topic that produces lots of ethical debates as parties argue against or in favor of the practice. However, Kevorkian was a firm believer in the sanctity of the activity and did not initially waste time debating the merits or demerit, but wholly immersed himself in it. Kevorkian can be considered a hero to society since he fits the description of the term in its strictest sense. The pathologist partook in the act of easing other people’s suffering through euthanasia and was brave in standing up for himself when he was indicted for first degree murder. Therefore, he did not only show mercy and compassion in the process, but also courage in representing himself in his court hearings.

While the morality of his actions can be debated by the presupposition that no one is entitled to help someone take his own life, the credibility of such arguments can be nullified by several counterarguments supporting euthanasia. Among these counter-arguments is the provision of a right to die by the constitution. Although not explicitly stated, a competent person with a terminal illness has the right to avoid discomfort or pain in letting the illness take its prognostic course (Dickinson & Leming, 2014). Moreover, this right is within the freedom of choosing a dignified death and the practice of one’s personal autonomy. Thereby, in seeking the professional services of Kevorkian, the patients were competent enough to trace him and ask for an eased painless death. In the granting of their request, Kevorkian performed a merciful act as these were terminal patients whose deaths were certain. Kevorkian thereby saved the patients from the dread of awaiting a painful death.

Another argument that supports Kevorkian is the fact that most value systems have led people to believe in the intrinsic dignity that each human being must be accorded. Each human being wants freedom from humiliation and to take pride in living. Terminal illness and permanent disabilities often take away that dignity since patients have no hope of ever feeling whole again. Whenever that dignity is stripped off, people often claim a loss in the quality of their lives. It is up to brave personalities, such as Kevorkian, to offer their services if the patient believes that continuation with life offers him or her no dignity and that a dignified ending would restore it in his or her last moments. Kevorkian was thus in no wrong when he accepted to help his patients have a dignified death by their own choice.

The decision to take one’s life is moreover a personal matter and should not warrant the state’s intervention as it did during the trial of Jack Kevorkian. Moreover, people who have not been in the position of judging the quality of other’s life should not demonize Kevorkian for his initiative (Dickinson & Leming, 2014). Being in the medical practice for years, Kevorkian had first-hand knowledge of death that only doctors and terminally-ill patients know. Thereby, for him to accept to assist the patients in their suicide, he must have empathically known their situation. Moreover, what really made people view him as a threat to society was his outspoken charismatic personality that was uncharacteristic of the stereotypical doctor. However, judging the man from what he stood for and the national debate that he sparked by his bold stance on euthanasia, Jack Kevorkian was a hero

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