Today, at age 83, Dr. Jack Kevorkian slipped into eternity and left in his wake a trail of civilizational wreckage from which we may never recover. With his Physician Assisted Suicide (PAS) movement, he was one of the Twentieth Century’s architects of the Culture of Death; the Margaret Sanger of the opposite end of the life spectrum.
As Msgr. William Smith taught so very well:
1. All social engineering is preceded by verbal engineering.
2. All evil begins with a lie. Identify the lie, and we succeed in unmasking the evil.
Kevorkian began his evil with a lie by omission. He frightened terminally ill people with the specter of an excruciantingly agonizing death (and I’ve seen cancer patients go this way), while never giving equal weight to palliative care and the reality that pain can be made bearable. Moreover, he spent the last 21 years of his life as the champion of suicide, while he could have used his considerable knowledge and skills to help advance the field of palliative medicine.
Kevorkian invoked the idea of “Death with Dignity,” which suggests that suffering is a hollow experience of no redemptive value. The concept also fails to address the reality of hospice care, where people die peacefully sedated surrounded by friends and family.
Death with Dignity hardly describes suicide. Suicide is desperation-driven, fueled by the twin afflictions of helplessness and hopelessness. It’s grubby and base, advanced by people who lack vision or soul. Surrendering to despair while standing on the brink of eternity is the final admission of the individual that God has no power in that moment. What should be the individual’s moment of greatest trust is laid waste by the smooth-talking clinician who says that the only sure avoidance of suffering lies in the flip of a switch on a Kevorkian machine.
As with all evil, it has metastasized throughout the medical community. The “right” to die with dignity has become an imperative to die as soon as possible when diagnosed with a terminal condition, and now in England, the obligation for the elderly to simply go away. Just this week, word has come out of England that doctors are prescribing water, WATER for the elderly in hospitals so that nurses will actually hydrate them.
Doctors caring for elderly patients in hospital are being forced to prescribe water for them in order to ensure they have enough to drink.
Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the NHS watchdog, found nurses sometimes left patients so thirsty that the only way for doctors to ensure they had enough liquid was to add “drinking water” to hospital medication charts.
The revelation comes in the first reports from the CQC into dignity and nutrition of elderly people treated by the NHS, which reveals a failure to attend to the most basic requirements of care. The Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, who ordered the reports, said the failings were “unacceptable”.
The plight of the terminally ill is no light matter. The fear of confronting one’s mortal ending can be paralyzing. Add to that the specter of dying in unbearable agony. Now add to that the dishonest physician who offers no real assurance of palliative care, and offers only suicide.
That is the essence of predation.
God be merciful to Dr. Kevorkian. Nobody knows his soul, but God. However, he has done great evil during his time among us. His last 23 years were the slow suicide of a soul.
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let Perpetual Light shine upon him.