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The Goodness of Planned Death

by Jack Kevorkian

Pub Date: Sept. 10th, 1991
ISBN: 0-87975-677-2

 Kevorkian, gadfly of the medical profession and inventor of the ``suicide machine,'' speaks his mind on the ethics of death. Its title notwithstanding, this is not primarily a discussion of euthanasia--or ``medicide,'' the author's term for euthanasia performed by professional medical personnel--but, rather, largely a defense of his position that death-row inmates should be given the option of execution by general anaesthesia, thus permitting use of their bodies for experimentation and harvesting of their organs. Since his days as a medical resident, Kevorkian has attempted to convince legislators, prison officials, and physicians of the value of this approach. However, the art of persuasion is not Kevorkian's forte; indeed, he seems unable to resist attacking and insulting those who disagree with him, referring to his medical colleagues as ``hypocritical oafs'' with a ``slipshod, knee-jerk'' approach to ethics. Those seeking a thoughtful discussion of euthanasia will not find it here, but Kevorkian does offer a revealing look at gruesome methods of execution. (Readers who have the stomach for it may be intrigued by his account of the many attempts to determine how long consciousness endures in severed heads.) Kevorkian concludes with a recounting of his development of the ``Mercitron'' (as he has named his suicide machine), his reasons for creating it, and his difficulties in promoting its use. A model bioethical code for medical exploitation of humans facing imminent and unavoidable death is included in the appendix. An angry doctor's rambling and repetitious harangue, certain to arouse the ire of the medical establishment.