What does the word “mercitron” sound like? Perhaps a toy, or maybe some sort of machine. Despite its name, the Mercitron was a machine that allowed a patient to self-administer a lethal dose of drugs with a click of a button, and was invented by Jack Kevorkian, one of the first advocates of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide (“Suicide”). Euthanasia, meaning “good death”, is the act of painlessly causing the death of an individual with a terminal illness or in an irreversible coma (“Euthanasia.” World of Health). Euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide both consist of a strong element of questionable medical ethics subject to the criticisms of society, although they are also supported by many. Euthanasia has various
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There are several reasons that patient’s request euthanasia. Many diseases are incurable, such as metastatic and terminal cancer. These patients manage painful symptoms and intense suffering, which ends in death (Encyclopedia). A majority of patients in Oregon who died after injecting a lethal dose of medicated had a primary diagnosis of cancer (“Suicide”). Many want to take matters into their own hands (Encyclopedia). Also, a lessening of being able to participate in enjoyable activities and the loss of autonomy or dignity are considered major reasons (Physician). The patients may have a perception of self as a burden, or a fear of a bad death. Some wish to control the circumstances of their death, and die at home, while others are worried about a future poor quality of life, or pain (“The End”).
Throughout the years, there have been many supporters of euthanasia. One was Derek Humphry, who founded the Hemlock Society in 1980, which in 2003 became known as “End-of-Life Choices”, an organization that advocates for legislation that would allow Americans to choose a dignified death and informs the public about the right to die. He also helped his wife take her life in order to end the pain terminal bone cancer was causing her. In 1991, Humphry published a book that was much like a suicide manual, with instructions on how to commit suicide, although he said it was only for those who were terminally ill. Later, he recorded a video displaying