The other night I was just running up and down the dial, wastin’ time on the vast wasteland that is TV when I stumbled across HBO’s original movie, “You Don’t Know Jack” about the infamous Dr. Jack Kevorkian, aka Dr. Death. Dr. Kevorkian died earlier this month, but not before leaving a controversial mark on society and further igniting the fiery debate about end of life issues.
In case you’re not familiar with him, Dr. Jack Kevorkian assisted in the suicides of more than 100 patients thought to be terminally ill. He was brought up on charges four times and was able to beat them the first three times. But Kevorkian was ultimately found guilty of murder in the death of 52-year-old Thomas Youk, who suffered from Lou Gehrig’s disease. In all of the prior cases, the patient was able to move part of their body in order to release the chemicals that would kill them. That was not the case with Thomas Youk.
Rarely does TV get to me the way this movie did. It caused me to think about so many things, life and death issues, my background and upbringing and how much suffering one should have to endure before they call it quits. We talked about this very issue not that long ago when I asked you if you’d like to know the exact date of your death, based on the story of an Oregon man who was planning to end his life under Oregon’s Death With Dignity Act.
I was raised a Christian and as you know, suicide is condidered a sin in that faith; it’s not something I could do. But as I sit here and write this, I am a healthy, strong, 40-something woman, with financial means and my mental faculties. What if I didn’t have all of that? What if I had a terminal disease? What if I didn’t want to be a drain on my children or if I just felt I couldn’t take it anymore? Would I do it then? Honestly, I’m not sure anymore.
But not everyone believes as I do and I certainly am not suffering as many of those patients were. And regardless of how we believe, I guess we have to give Dr. Jack Kevorkian credit for at least opening the dialogue for a very some tough, but inevitable issues for us all.
What about you? What are your thoughts on assisted suicide? Would you do it? Can you say with certainty that you would not? And do you think assisted suicide should be considered a crime?