Whether it is ethical or moral for a physician to end a person’s life is certainly a question for those who value medical ethics to debate. The same could be said about comparing the value of a person’s life to that of an animal’s life (6/26, Letters, “To end suffering”).
However, as a nurse, I strongly take issue with the actions of Jack Kevorkian primarily based on the millennia-old tenet of medical practice. He had no doctor-patient relationship with those he helped die.
In fact, as a pathologist, he never treated live persons. Rather, his expertise was tissue, cells and bacteria.
He did not know the full medical and psychosocial history of those who were not his patients in the truest meaning.
Therefore he is no more entitled to “treat” a person for his medical condition by euthanasia than a chemist with a Ph.D., also a doctor, would be just because he has knowledge regarding what dose of a chemical is fatal.
Clearly, Kevorkian’s actions in these cases do not stand the test for ethically sound or morally correct.