06.03.2011 08:26 AM

No person assisted me in the preparation of this post

Oh, and good riddance.

23 Comments

  1. sassy says:

    I’ve held a loved one as his passed away, and have to say, as heart wrenching/painful as it was to say goodbye, (and I miss him so very much even to this day) I was grateful that his suffering had ended.

    It’s not a simple black and white issue. There really is a difference between a good death and a bad death.

  2. “Good riddance” is a little strong. The guy and his methods were divisive, but assisted suicide is a complex issue with no easy answers.

  3. Torgo says:

    To be honest, I don’t understand the overt hostility here.

    I disagree with the methods Kevorkian used (and his personality), but he’s a perfect illustration of our societal inability to fully look at issues surrounding end-of-life care and choices. To demonize him is to continue this avoidance.

    • Canadian Observor says:

      Work on the assumption that is Kinsella’s Catholicism raising its ugly head. Apparently they worship a deity that requires pain be “offered up”. Sort of like Aztecs, but without the obsidian.

  4. Dave Wells says:

    Gord I seem to disagree with you on a lot of issues, but this is one where we see eye to eye. I am slowly losing my Dad to time (he will be 91 this year and while he is resting comfortably in a home, he is a shell of his former robust self), and he has often said he does not want to waste away. This issue really hits home for me.

  5. boneyard says:

    I don’t get the hostility either . . . is it the man himself or the concept? I would like to hear more

  6. Marc-Andre Chiasson says:

    As someone very dear and close to me just said: “Regardless of anybody’s opinion about him, his actions and his statements led to some extremely valuable public dialogue about the right to death and patient dignity. We all owe him a debt of gratitude for jump-starting that conversation.” Given I am 65 years old and therefore on the other side of the mountain, it’s certainly something one thinks about…at least occasionally.

  7. Lipman says:

    I depart with you on this one, WK. But as an MD, what were your Dad’s thoughts on it?

    DL

  8. intrep says:

    I experienced the process of euthenasia 4 years ago when a very sick friend in Holland had his last visit from friends and then went with his wife, brother and doctor to his bedroom where a 3-stage lethal injection was administered to end an 8 year battle with cancer. The relief from the family at his passing, not to mention the peace that he had as his time approached, moved me from against assisted suicide, to being a fan. It’s too bad we often hold cloistered views on this side of the pond.

    • Pete says:

      I agree totally with that concept. Its a personal decision and one made with full medical and family consultation. I think it’s a very humane way to end cruel suffering. In fact at end of life time here in Canada particularly in palliative care situations the patient is increasingly medicated until they pass away. While nothing has really been done to hasten their passing the medication finally does do the job. So, in effect we have a typical Canadian version of assisted dying.

      In Holland the person can make his/her own decision about those final moments. That’s the only difference.

      • MCBellecourt says:

        We may have a Canadian version of ‘assisted dying’, but it is still sorely inadequate. My beloved aunt, who battled breast cancer for what seemed forever before it finally claimed her life ended up suffering unnecessary agony near the end because the morphine quit working for her. There needs to be a discussion about legalizing medical-grade heroin for terminally ill patients who find themselves in this tragic situation.

        In fact, there needs to be much greater discussion about end-of-life care in this country overall. Long-term care facilities and hospice societies are horribly underfunded and this is one area where Mr. Kinsella and others in his position can really perform a public service–by becoming strong advocates for improvements in end-of-life care and the adequate staffing of these facilities. No one in a country as rich as Canada should end their lives in a shitty diaper, in agony, but it does happen and it happens a lot.

        I still have mixed feelings about assisted suicide because all it takes is one leader of a country to turn a potential good into a potential evil by using it to ‘cull’ those who are no longer considered ‘useful’. But I’m a real loudmouth when it comes to end-of-life care.

        How about it, Mr. K?

  9. patrick Deberg says:

    If you think he had a healthy respect for death just check out his paintings on the subject. He was a sort of carnaval barker on death and liked his job just a little too much. You can also see he had a tendency to push people over the top that didn’t need dispatching. Being fed up with people and life should cause one to help pull you back to your feet, not shove you over the edge. Vorki was way too eager to shuffle you off the mortal coil…..

  10. Northbaytrapper says:

    Hear hear Warren.

    Couldn’t agree with you more.

  11. Mike London says:

    The people are way ahead of politicians on this issue. It seems like most people are willing to have a thoughful and respectful debate about assisted suicide. Unfortunately, some put their religious beliefs ahead of the public good.

    • MCBellecourt says:

      And that is precisely the reason why I wrote the post above. The needed funding and the raising of standards for end-of-life care and having it entrenched into legislation will do much to answer these questions. The science is available to make death a dignified and painless journey. That should be the true issue.

      When my time comes, and if morphine quits working for me, like it did for my aunt, I would want my doctor to be able to give me the pain relief that would work. Unlike morphine, medical-grade heroin is water-soluble and that is why it is as effective as it is. European countries (I believe The Netherlands is one of them) use this highly-effective method of pain control with extremely encouraging results.

      Yeah, it’s addictive, but if you’re dying, who cares?

  12. Can’t think about Jack Kevorkian without thinking about Geoff Fieger – they were inseparable back then.

  13. Brammer says:

    He was controversial, but necessary to pull some heads out of the sand.

    There are a lot of other folks to whom I would wish “good riddance” before this fellow.

  14. MCBellecourt says:

    All of us are going to die. It’s not a pretty subject, but it’s a hot-button issue just the same.

    Do any of us really want the power of life and death in the hands of someone else? Someone who has the same inherent human flaws we possess ourselves? Or do we want to use the science of pain control to its fullest potential and dispense with the stigma of certain medications so we can have the debate fully armed with facts and get rid of the myth?

    Canada as a nation will not be prepared to enter this debate until that science is fully explored. I don’t see that happening for at least another five years. In order to be scientifically prepared with the tools necessary to make truly informed decisions regarding the end of our own lives, we need a government with the political will to address ALL the issues.

    Christ, I wish the voting public would wake the hell up.

  15. Krista says:

    Whether Dr. Kevorkian was angel or demon, that does NOT negate the fact that all too often, people in our country are not allowed to die with any sort of dignity. My grandmother recently passed away from Alzheimer’s, and I visited her often in the nursing home. The staff members did their best with the limited resources they had, but it doesn’t change the fact that this vital, vibrant woman became a bed-ridden shell who would be made to sit in her own feces for up to two hours while waiting for the aides to make their rounds and change her. Is that how you want to spend your twilight years? Not I.

    As our medical technology improves, we are able to artificially prolong life. In most cases, this is a good thing. However, in many other cases, it results in a prolonged life with absolutely NO quality of life. We desperately need to have a serious conversation in this country about living wills, end-of-life dignity, and yes, assisted suicide. It is long past time for this.

  16. Phil in London says:

    Isn’t pro-choice always pro choice? How do you rationalize abortion but not euthanasia? I don’t have any real position on either issue but the notion that it’s okay to abort a child and not okay to allow an adult the decision to opt for end of life by choice seems very at odds to me? I’m just asking so please don’t rip my head off when you reply

    • MCBellecourt says:

      I promise I won’t rip your head off, but your answer is in the two words, “Pro-Choice”. Until we have a truly progressive government, the choice should be between the individual, the families and the doctors involved. Pro-Choice is not pro-abortion, or pro-euthenasia. Not everyone is for assisted suicide, but that is a choice.

      It is when the choice is abused that the big question mark arises. Abortion is used in some countries to reject a foetus based on its gender alone.

      We now have a country that welcomes the likes of Henry Kissinger and Ann Coulter into our borders. When I sit down and do the math, my intuition tells me that we don’t have a government that is even capable of bringing forth legislation that will prevent abuses. It should be left alone for now.

      Be careful what you wish for.

  17. Blair says:

    If I can prove that I am of sound mind absolutely nobody should be able to tell me what to do with my body. I’ll kill myself if I bloody well please. There is very little that drives me up the wall more than people who won’t allow people to die with dignity. It is the ultimate act of forcing your values on someone else.

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