Prescription Medicide: The Goodness of Planned Death

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Overview

For many years Dr. Kevorkian was at the center of the red-hot debate over physician-assisted suicide. The inventor of the "suicide machine" stirred up both admiration and controversy. His "Deaths with Dignity" won him the accolades of the pro-choice movement. Other groups, like Operation Rescue, the AMA, the Hemlock Society, and especially the Michigan State Legislature, insisted that Kevorkian had gone too far. His much-publicized campaign to assist the terminally ill to commit suicide eventually led to his prosecution and imprisonment.

In Prescription: Medicide, the famed "suicide doctor" talks about why he was so committed to his struggle. He addresses the need to assist the terminally ill to die, how death row inmates should be allowed to donate organs after their deaths, and the need for medical reform to create a rational program of dignified, humane, beneficial planned death.

Dr. Kevorkian has helped more than a dozen terminally-ill people kill themselves. As a result, physician-assisted suicide has once again become a red-hot debate, with the inventor of the "suicide machine" at the center. Now the famed doctor talks about why he continues his struggle.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Kevorkian gained notoriety last year when he performed the first publicly acknowledged ``physician-assisted suicide'' by helping Janet Adkins, a victim of Alzheimer's disease, take her own life. The method of death was the Mercitron, the ``suicide machine'' Kevorkian invented, which enables a person to self-administer a lethal injection. In this self-dramatizing, often strident manifesto he argues that ``medicide,'' his term for doctor-assisted suicide, is an ethical option that should be extended not only to the infirm or terminally ill, but also to inmates on death row. Condemned prisoners, he maintains, should, if they choose, be executed via general anesthesia, with the option of donating organs or having their intact bodies used for medical experimentation. Kevorkian's contention that the existence of his machine renders moral questions about euthanasia obsolete is simplistic. His book is likely to stir a hornet's nest of controversy.
Library Journal
This controversial book--not for the squeamish--deserves broad exposure. Avowing that ``stone-age ethics'' has beset ``space-age medicine,'' Kevorkian writes, ``The time has come to smash the last irrational and most fearsome taboo of planned death and thereby to open the floodgates of equally momentous benefit for humankind.'' He calls for acceptance of ``situation ethics'' to confront the ``ethical vacuum'' he sees as the present state of bioethics. In what for some readers may be a too-clinically descriptive, coldly analytic, and rational style, Kevorkian recounts the evolution of his thinking about capital punishment, organ harvesting, and human experimentation to ``medicide'' and ``obitiatry.'' Only late in the book does he fully detail his role in Janet Adkin's suicide in June 1990 that led to his being dubbed the ``suicide doctor.'' This is for all collections. See also Carlos Gomez's Regulating Death , reviewed above.--Ed.-- James Swanton, Albert Einstein Coll. of Medicine, New York
School Library Journal
YA-- A thought-provoking book about the years Kevorkian spent campaigning for the use of organ donations from condemned prisoners and about the modes of capital punishment throughout history. Verbose in style, the book is not written as leisure reading for YAs, but it is valuable for students researching capital punishment.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780879758721
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books
  • Publication date: 9/28/1991
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 244
  • Product dimensions: 5.38 (w) x 8.35 (h) x 0.58 (d)

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