A Crime Of Compassion

  • Category: Technology
  • Words: 696
  • Grade: 100
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.
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