Jacob “Jack” Kevorkian died peacefully this morning in the company of his niece and attorney at the age of 88 in Detroit, Michigan. An American pathologist, Jack Kevorkian, served eight years of a 10-15 year sentence for administering the assisted suicides of at least 130 patients, making him a major proponent in the legal debate of the “right-to-die”.
“Doctor Death”, a nicknamed dubbed by the press, is best known for saying, “dying is not a crime” seeking the decriminalization of physician assisted suicide. During a speech given at the University of Florida in 2008, the Gainesville Sun reported Kevorkian of saying, “My aim in helping the patient was not to cause death … My aim was to end suffering. It’s got to be decriminalized.”
Many countries around the world have outlawed suicide and assisted suicide. To date, there are only four places in the world that permit physician assisted suicide. Among the four are Oregon since 1997, Switzerland since 1941, Belgium since 2002, and the Netherlands since 1984.
One organization that helps terminally ill adults end their lives is called Dignitas, located near Zurich, Switzerland. According to the Dignitas website, they help people “Live with dignity – to die with dignity.” Dignitas has assisted over 450 people since its founding in 1998.
Many people have considered Kevorkian a hero, helping people in pain end their lives with dignity. The debate continues to rage on between those who say doctors should only save lives instead of ending them and those who believe doctors should help patients make educated decisions, but leave the choice to the patient. There are dozens of organizations against euthanasia around the globe.
A Gallup poll conducted in March shows that Americans stand divided on the subject of physician-assisted suicide at 45 percent for, 48 percent against, and 3 percent unsure.
What are your views on physician-assisted suicide? Is Dr. Kevorkian a hero?
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://liveloveleslie.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/L.J.Acker-2012-About.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]L.J. Acker is an American life and career coach based in Annecy, France. She offers free consultations and affordable international coaching by phone and Skype. [/author_info] [/author]