A Crime Of Compassion

Who has the right to take one\'s life from them? The Supreme Court says
that no man shall take the life of another man without punishment. The Bible
says, "Thou shalt not kill" (Exodus 20:13), yet humans are still the only
species that kills their own kind. Murder is wrong. Murder is unlawful.
But when does taking the pain and suffering away from a dying victim become
murder? Barbara Huttmann believes that there is a time when living has just
gone too far. Her essay "A Crime of Compassion" addresses these points and
this very controversial question: When is it lawful and moral to take the
life of another person?

Murder is still a crime, and there is a fine line between murder and a
"Do Not Resuscitate" (DNR) order from a Doctor. The state of Montana tried
and convicted Dr. Kavorkian of murder just because he helped sad, tired and
suffering patients end all of their pain, by killing them. Is this murder?
Maybe, Kavorkian killed suffering victims. He had their permission, but
nonetheless, he ended their life. DNR is different. While I have never had
cancer, like "Mac" in the essay, or any other terminal illness for the
matter, I can sympathize for the patient and his family. Why should he have
to stay alive or suffer? There comes a time when medical technology is just
impending in the grand scheme of life. What\'s wrong with death? What are we
so afraid of? Why can\'t we treat death with a certain amount of humanity,
dignity, and decency? Whether the patient believes in an after life or not,
death is a part of life. While Barbara was required by hospital guidelines
to report all "Code Blues", it is not morally wrong. But, in most states,
unless the patient prior to the accident has signed a DNR, you must do
whatever it takes to keep them alive. That is not moral, that is legal. But
where do you draw the line? Barbara said hat she resuscitated Mac "52 times
in just on month" (3). Should there be a number that once reached, an
understood DNR is in place? Or do we continue to treat only the symptoms of
terminal illnesses and send patients back home to suffer?

The point is that it is not fair to make someone to offer through pain
day in and day out, just waiting to die. The Constitution has a law against
cruel and unusual punishments: Does terminal illness count? Can they not
just be allowed to die peacefully? Barbara uses emotional tactics to sell
her ideas and convey her point. By attacking the reader\'s heat, it is much
easier to win the "right or wrong" battle, because everyone can relate to
death. By using extreme adjectives and figurative metaphors, the reader has
no choice but to want to reach out not only to Mac and his family, but also
to Barbara, for she loved "him, his wife, Maura, and their three kids as if
they were [her] own"(5). She had suffered right along with him through all
of this. Death is sad, and it might not be fair, but dealing with death is
far easier then dealing with pain and suffering of a loved one.

Barbara Huttmann may have broken hospital policy that day, but the truth
is, she did her friend Mac a favor. He wanted it, the family wanted it, and
she wanted it. Medical technology, while unbelievably spectacular, is
sometimes a nuisance. Mac deserved to be left along. He was tired of pain,
tired of suffering, and tired of delaying the inevitable. Murder and
assisting death are one thing, but this is just allowing life to run its
course. Sometimes it is just time. Time to let go, and time to move on.
Barbara Huttmann is not guilty of murder. Her only crime is compassion.

Category: Social Issues