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Death and Dying

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Question 1. Terri Schiavo (Theresa Marie Schindler) was born on December 3, 1963. She was an obedient shy child, however, with a good sense of humor. She was fond of music, arts and animals. Although she had a small circle of friends, everybody who knew her, loved her very much. She attracted people with her sincerity, mercy and openness. In 1983, she met Michael Schiavo, who became her husband in a few months, after the first date.

At the age of 26, in 1990 Terri suffered from a sudden cardiac arrest, the cause of which has never been determined. Some friends of Terri were talking about her eating disorders. However, there was no mentioning about the bulimia in the news. The doctors diagnosed her with a hypoxic encephalopathy that was the result of lack of oxygen to the brain. Terri spent two and a half month in coma being connected to the ventilator, however, after some time she started breathing without assistance and keeping up life functions. Her state was considered as unstable which is why she was provided with a PEG tube in order to secure the safe supply of nourishment and hydration (Cline, 2007).

The case with Terri Schiavo lasted from 1998 to 2005

It was a legal battle for prolonged life support. Doctors were trying to bring her back to life with the help of speech and physical therapy. Unfortunately, she was diagnosed with a persistent vegetative state (PVS), and the issue was whether to bring a life support to an end or to continue her treatment. In 1998, Michael Schiavo, appealed to Sixth Circuit Court of Florida to disconnect her feeding tube. He tried to convince everybody that Terri asked him earlier to save himself and her family from such tortures as taking care of her. Nevertheless, Terri’s parents were against; moreover, they claimed that their daughter was conscious. On April 24, 2001, her feeding tube was removed the first time since the court established that Terri would not want to carry on the life-prolonging measures. However, in a few days, Terri’s parents achieved tube’s return.

There are many video clips revealing the truth about Terry Schiavo‘s case

The truth is that Terri was not a “vegetable”, or “comatose”, as her husband said. Subconsciously, she responded almost every gesture and motion: she was crying, vocalizing, comprehending the words, following simple commands, and moving her eyes. In other words, Terri was clearly aware of the environment. If it was not her husband, Terri might have had a chance to continue her life. Michael did not want any changes to be done to his wife since he lost every hope for Terri’s recovery. On March 31, 2005 Terri died after the feeding tube was disconnected completely. Concerning such problems, caused by bulimia and cardiac arrest, the case of Terri can become a big lesson for those who has an obsession with food and theirs body images (Lynne, 2005).

Question 2. Jack Kevorkian was born on May 26, 1928 in Pontiac, Michigan in a family of Armenian immigrants. He was an American pathologist, euthanasia activist, author, painter, instrumentalist, and also well-known as “Dr Death”. Throughout his life, he was curious about the death, which is why he was constantly writing about it. After publishing several works about philosophy of death, Kevorkian found out about the way of expanding the death proposal. He realized that doctors in New Zealand were helping fatal cases to die with the help of a lethal injection. That was an incitement to him to study an assisted suicide, or euthanasia. In order to have an opportunity to begin experiments on euthanasia, he started writing about its benefits.

Jack Kevorkian was the inventor of a suicide machine “Thanatron” (Greek: instrument of death). In 1990, he became infamous, due to that machine. He helped with the suicide of Janet Adkins who was suffering from Alzheimer. She was an associate member of organization that advocated voluntary euthanasia. When she found out about her disease, she wanted to perform suicide with the help of Kevorkian. After killing her, he became a national celebrity and a criminal at the same time.

In 1998, the legislature of Michigan issued a law that punished those who would assist in suicide by a maximum of 5 years imprisonment or $10000 fine. Nevertheless, Kevorkian did not stop working with a suicide machine. Moreover, he aired a tape on CBS with a patient Thomas Youk, whom he was helping to perform a suicide. Thomas Youk was suffering from Lou Gehrig's disease, which is why he asked Kevorkian to assist in killing him. In 1999, he was sentenced to 10-25 years in prison for second-degree murder; however, he was released in 2007 on parole. The condition of his release was that he would not assist anyone to perform a suicide, not even with a piece of advice.

In his defense, Kevorkian said that someone needed to do those things with the suffering humanity. Furthermore, he persuaded people that he used to put himself in his patients’ place and that what he would want. Nevertheless, from the religious perspective, no human being can take away the life of other human being. People are born in this world, to have their destiny, which they have to run through or outlive. Those who want to terminate their lives are considered as miserable and crazy. People need to learn how to fight even with an incurable disease. They need to realize that if they are doomed to die in such a way, they need to follow this way and not shorten it for themselves (Fieger, 2012). 

The actions of Kevorkian are regarded as illegitimate and severe, regardless the purpose which used to control his mind. Being immoral, Dr Death condemned himself to a life-long punishment which is called a sin. Jack Kevorkian died on June 3, 2011 from the heart and kidneys problems and just before his death nurses were playing recordings of Johann Sebastian Bach for him.

Question 3. The article “Proof of Heaven” reveals the truth to those who had survived near-death experiences. For a long time scientists were arguing whether the near-death experience (NDE) is real or impossible. Finally, Dr. Eben Alexander, a well-trained neurosurgeon gave an explanation that NDE feels real; however, it is only a fantasy which brain produces under a great stress (Eben, 2012).

Being attacked by a rare illness, Alexander lay during seven days in the coma

The part of his brain that controlled thought and emotion was completely closed. Nevertheless, after doctors stopped treatment, Alexander came back to life that remains a miracle till nowadays. Alexander was telling the story that being unconscious, he saw angels who guided him through the world of super-physical existence, and he spoke with the Divine of the whole universe. As it appeared later, it was not just a fantasy.

The sense of Alexander’s story is that he did not associate the science of neurosurgery with beliefs in God, heaven, angels or Divine. Today, Dr. Eben Alexander is the one who believes that the true health can be achieved not only by means of first-class medicine, but only with the help of God’s power. The truth is that God supports everybody, everywhere and always. The magical recovery of Dr. Eben is nothing else but his deep faith in higher powers. Now he claims that there is consciousness beyond the body and his journey was nothing else but this consciousness.

Having survived a serious disease, it happens that people start reconsidering their existence. That is exactly what happened to Alexander; he started investigating the true nature of consciousness. He started visiting a church and praying every day. He is grateful for the second chance God gave him, and everybody should feel the same way.

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