Medicide refers to committing suicide with the help of a certified doctor. In other words, it can be called physician-assisted suicide. It is also known as ‘euthanasia’ or ‘death with dignity.’ It is a process in which a qualified physician offers an incurably ill patient the means (equipment or drugs) to end his or her own life. But at the same time, it is important to note that these resources are provided upon the patient’s request. Nevertheless, it is as clear as crystal that the procedure infringes the Hippocratic Oath and is highly controversial. Depending upon the jurisdiction and culture of a country, it may be illegal, legal or undecided.
When doctors receive their degree of practice, they are required to take the Hippocratic Oath. The oath restricts them from doing any harm or giving a lethal injection. However, the moment they aid a patient in bringing about his or her own death voluntarily by means of any drugs or a lethal injection, this oath gets violated.
Why are Medicides in Limelight?
Several people, who suffer from a terminal disease and seek an escape, support this process and insist that it should be an alternative for such patients. In accordance with them, it is the responsibility of a doctor to relieve his patients and end their pains and sufferings; no matter whatever means he adopts for this.
By following this process, patients who are going through extreme anguish and distress will no longer have to tolerate agonies of life. Various terrible diseases such as cancer and AIDS cause slow and painful death. It becomes quite difficult for these patients to bear the tremendous misery and solitude. In such a case, medicide is like a boon for them, as it frees them from bitter reality.
Doctors are knowledgeable enough to tell how many days are left for a patient. In this case, why is the patient required to endure all sufferings till he does his last breath? When it is apparent that he will not be saved and will die ultimately, why should he wait for the circumstance to get worse and even a more throbbing death? Furthermore, it becomes troublesome for the patient’s family as well to cope with him.
“Mercitron”- An Ultimate Apparatus
Dr. Jack Kevorkian, famous as “Dr. Death,” invented a suicide machine called the “Mercitron”. The device is operated by the patient and activated by a switch. The intravenous saline infusion is interrupted by the device with bolus of thiopentone. After that, a dose of potassium chloride is provided. Dr. Death is of the opinion that it is not needed for a doctor to begin the intravenous infusion. On the contrary, it is entirely the patient’s own will whether he/she wants to operate the machine or not.
But the process is not straightforward. In his description of the first experience in medicides, Kevorkian mentions that Janet Adkins (from Michigan, California) was suffering from Alzheimer’s and requested him for assisted suicide. It took Janet more than five attempts to achieve success with the help of the machine.
To conclude, we can say that medicide has always been a matter of great controversy. On one hand, it is against humanity and ethics, but on the other, it provides relief from severe sufferings. It is utterly a conflicting topic, as no fixed judgment has been taken for or against the sensitive issue. Setting all these arguments aside, it is actually factual that medicide brings a solution to one’s end-less suffering and is considered to be a better alternative at the time of distress.
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- hippocratic oath for doctors dying with dignity