I was filled with sorrow this morning to hear of the passing of Dr. Jack Kevorkian, a man who had several life missions, one which earned him the notorious title of “Dr. Death.”
Having recently witnessed the long, drawn out death of my mother, whose life mercifully ended on July 23, 2010, I can honestly say, it was the kind of death I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. She had been willing herself to die for eighteen months, at one point while in the hospital, she even refused to eat for eight days. We were able to take her home to die and hospice stayed for a while, but when she didn’t die fast enough, they left. Unfortunately, my dad, who was in charge of her at the time, had passed away the month before hospice left.
I am still haunted by the memory of the torture my father underwent at the hands of the doctors in Mercy Hospital, an ironic name, since anything but mercy was shown to him. He had a Living Will, but what I learned from this experience was that once you’re in the hospital, and if you have good insurance, they basically do what they want in the name of “getting you into rehab.” What a charade that was, since it was obvious to all he was going nowhere, but to the grave. Meanwhile, to the tune of a half a million dollars, I watched the doctors subject my father to an arsenal of painful tests and procedures.
I began to see that dying is a money making machine and the medical profession was in no hurry to end my father’s misery, since he was such a cash cow to them. The day before he died I went to see him. I saw a tear come to his eyes, and he looked at me and said, “Why are they doing this to me? They shoot horses, don’t they?”
God sees to our intentions. Dr. Kevorkian’s intentions were never to murder anyone, but to give those people who sought his help, a dignified and merciful death. Dr. Kevorkian’s trial for murder was a trial of epic proportion, of Socratic proportions if you will. If death is big business, then those people who benefit economically from long, drawn out deaths have a lot to lose if Dr. Kevorkian’s philosophy actually took hold. Dr. Kevorkian was sentenced to eight years in prison, whereas Socrates was sentenced to death by drinking a hemlock-based liquid, a Kevorkian cocktail of sorts.
It pains me to know that this brilliant man spent so many of his last years in prison, crucified as so many prophets are.
God, in all his mercy, blessed Dr. Kevorkian with a painless and peaceful death. If anyone ever deserved such a fitting ending, he did.
I am sure he was greeted with open arms by many of those people he helped.
May he rest in peace.