Case Study – Good Death or Assisted Suicide
The case of Mr. Perry and his pacemaker
Mr. Perry (not his real name) was 83 years old and had several medical problems, having spent the past several months in and out of hospitals and rehab. Prior to that, he lived independently in a small Midwestern town.
Life should have been relatively good for this octogenarian. But life was not good. Not anymore. “My body is all worn out. I’m worn out. Don’t want to do this anymore, Doc. They say I can’t go home and be safe. And I’m NOT going to a nursing home. No way! Just stop that little gadget that shocks me and the part that keeps my heart going. I want them stopped. Yes, the pacemaker, too. A magnet will stop it, right? Just do it. Please.”
The pacemaker? He wants it stopped. Ought we do so?
Would that be ethically respectful of this patient’s autonomy?
Or would it be physician-technician assisted suicide?