Dr. Jack Kevorkian has died

Peacefully, and no, not as a result of assisted suicide.

He was right to shed light on the issue of how America prolongs the suffering of the dying. He was right that people have a right to end their own lives. He was right that there should not be a stigma attached to that act.

I don’t know if physicians should be involved in that act. I hope he never convinced any of his patients to do something they otherwise would not have done.

The bigger picture than assisted suicide is the way America treats the dying. For moral and financial (which are also moral) reasons, terminally ill people are treated far worse than dying dogs and horses – poked, prodded, and hooked up to machines in a sterile, soulless, frightening hospital environment. When possible – and often it is – people should die at home with their families.

Here is a highly informative 60 Minutes report about the issue. In addition to its big picture analysis, it follows an elderly woman in her last days subjected to test after tests, even pap smears, at great cost to future taxpayers, since current taxpayers have decided not to pay our own bills.

Here is the story about Kevorkian.

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