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 ife 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 er 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.