Thursday, March 31, 2005

Old Jack Ketch

Michael Schiavo hired Ronald Cranford, M.D., a neurologist, to examine his estranged wife Terri a few years back, and he kept him on as one of Terri's physicians. Dr. Cranford's testimony led to the judgment that Terri was in a "persistent vegetative state." It is now widely reported that Dr. Cranford has been a long-time "right-to-die" activist, associated with the Hemlock Society (peopled by such folks as Derek Humphry and Jack Kevorkian) and "Choices In Dying" (successor to the Euthanasia Society of America). He calls himself "Dr. Humane Death." This report put me in mind of an excellent article on this "movement" of four years ago, which mentions Dr. Cranford, as well as a verse from the archives on the original "Dr. Death.".
* * * * *

Life is death and death is life:
Hug the children, kiss the wife,
Gather round the kin and friend,
Seal the will and make an end.
Now, for all the world a wretch,
Hand your hat to old Jack Ketch.

Call the guy from Michigan—
Surgeon, healer, handyman,
Gray and speckled, mean and lank—
Bid him bring his CO tank,
(Who in Dearborn would have thought,
What combustion here has wrought.)

Check the settings, fit the cask,
Pull the lever, don the mask,
Breathe the fumes of sweet exhaust;
All the world goes dim and lost.
Now, upon the couch you stretch,
Grasp the hand of old Jack Ketch.
Bulging eyes and ringing ears
(Devils of these hundred years);
Rapid pulse and vertigo
(Adolf, Idi, Uncle Joe...);
Pounding heart and throbbing head
(Hundred million people dead).

Twitching frame and bluish lip;
Close the lids and loose the grip.
All the world is short of breath,
Choking in the age of death:
Now, upon the couch you stretch,
Die in arms of old Jack Ketch.
(Stop the lever, pop the cork,)
(Raise a glass to Doc Kevork.)

20 Comments:

Blogger Ned said...

So many words have been said, with no effect on the hardened conscience. So many images remain that haunt the heart still tender enough to be moved. Nothing can be said now but to hope that she finally knows peace.

3/31/2005 10:25:00 PM  
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Ned

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