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Assisted Suicide

Providing the physical means or assistance by which a person commits suicide. A request for assisted suicide is typically a cry for help. In reality it is a call for counseling and assistance.

Suicidal intent is typically transient. Of those who attempt suicide, but are stopped, less than 4% go on to kill themselves in the next five years. “If we treat their depression and we treat their pain, I’ve never had a patient who wanted to die." - Dr. William Wood, Time April 15, 1996 pg.82

The Hemlock Society (renamed Compassion and Choices) in the United States has been existence for 17 years and has an estimated 25,000 members. It is committed to legalizing assisted suicide and euthanasia. They have tried to achieve their agenda by using the courts to challenge laws that prohibit assisted suicide.

Jack Kevorkian is a retired pathologist. He never worked with live patients - he was obsessed with death and dying during his entire medical career. His nickname from his early school days was “Dr. Death". In medical school, he could always be found at the bedside of a dying patient, wanting to be present at the exact moment of death as often as possible. Kevorkian claims to be involved in more than 130 deaths in his nine year crusade for assisted suicide. Kevorkiam was found guilty of injecting 46 year old Thomas Youck with lethal injection, on March 26, 1999. He was sentenced to 10-25 years in prison. He was released in 2007.

During the trial, Kevorkian threatened to go on a hunger strike if found guilty. Within the first week, he announced that he was not ready to die yet and would not go on hunger strike. His previous trials, all on assisted suicide charges, resulted in three acquittals and one mistrial.

Dr. Klooster was an Alzheimer’s patient, advanced to the point where he was diagnosed medically incompetant. His life insurance was soon to be terminated. His (second) wife contacted Kevorkian. His son sued for custody. The custody battle was won by the son. Kevorkian testified on behalf of the fathers’ ability to determine his future (competency). Kevorkian never met or spoke with Dr. Klooster! The father died several years later of natural causes.

Jack Kevorkian and his attorney, Geoffrey Feiger, held a press conference and introduced an elderly woman in a wheel chair. She was in despair with rheumatoid arthritis. The men challenged the medical community to come forward and help resolve her pain. They planned to assist in her suicide in six months if no one could help her. Hundreds of doctors called and faxed the numbers given, but never were responded to. Six months later, the two men had a press conference to announce that because of no response from the medical community, they had successfully assisted in her suicide.

National Catholic Office for Persons with Disabilities, (www.ncpd.org) is an organization vigilant in promoting the inclusion of Catholics with disabilities in their parish communities and the total fabric of society. www.ncpd.org

Content provided courtesy of pennlife.org