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KILLING  7'?m2f It's not mercy killing. It's just plain killing

(scene: waiting room, or six chairs side-by-side facing audience)

LIZ -- (enters, looks at watch, looks for Amy, paces, looks at 
watch)

AMY -- (enters opposite carrying several file folders, crosses) 
I am so sorry I'm late. The nursing home association call a 
last-minute meeting about the new state law. I had no idea that 
it would have so many ramifications for us. (offers hand)

LIZ -- (shakes) That new state law... That wouldn't just happen 
to be the law on euthanasia, would it?

AMY -- Yes. It took effect at midnight. But how did YOU know 
about it? I thought only we in the nursing home business were 
interested in euthanasia.

LIZ -- I read it in the paper.

AMY -- Oh. I didn't see it in the paper.

LIZ -- Page 18 in the lifestyle section.

AMY -- Oh. I hardly ever have time to read that section. Well, 
anyway, what can I help you with? I assume you're here about 
your grandmother.

LIZ -- Yes. She's suffering.

AMY -- I wasn't aware that she was suffering. I thought she was 
rather comfortable here in the nursing home.

LIZ -- No. She's suffering. I'd like to end her suffering.

AMY -- Her attending physician didn't mention anything about 
pain in her medical report. What did you have in mind? Did you 
want me to recommend a pain medication?

LIZ -- I was thinking more in terms of euthanasia.

AMY -- Oh. Oh, dear! I didn't think she was that far gone. Are 
you sure about this?

LIZ -- Quite sure.

AMY -- Did she request euthanasia?

LIZ -- She's not in her right mind. I think we'll have to make 
that decision for her.

AMY -- Oh. I see. 

LIZ -- The new law says that next of kin are allowed to 
authorize euthanasia if the patient is incapable.

AMY -- (opens file folder, points) Yes, that's what they said in 
the meeting. (sigh) But, I had no idea that I would be faced 
with all those decisions so quickly.

LIZ -- Decisions? There's only one decision: whether or not to 
end her suffering and I've decided to do that.

AMY -- Actually, it's not quite that simple.

LIZ -- It isn't?

AMY -- No, our state law makers wanted to avoid the mistakes 
they made in Holland during the last twenty years of euthanasia 
there.

LIZ -- Oh, I didn't know euthanasia was legal in Holland.

AMY -- Yes. Euthanasia is now the leading cause of death in 
Holland. One in every five deaths is from mercy killing.

LIZ -- No kidding.

AMY -- No kidding. It's gotten so out of hand in Holland that 
doctors are now killing some patients against their will. 

LIZ -- Is that so?

AMY -- Yes, so, the new state law has implemented some new 
procedures to avoid the excesses of Dutch mercy killings.

LIZ -- Well, whatever they are. Let's get them out of the way. 
My grandmother is suffering and we need to put her out of her 
misery.

AMY -- Okay. First, (pulls paper from file) I need to have you 
sign this form testifying that your grandmother is a Christian.

LIZ -- I have no idea whether she's a Christian or not. What 
possible difference could it make what her religion is?

AMY -- Well, the reason that you're going to kill her is because 
she's suffering. If she's a Christian, she is assured, not only 
of an end to her suffering, but a pleasant stay in Heaven. If, 
on the other hand, she's not a Christian, she will spend an 
eternity in the torment of hell. And so death would not be a 
relief of suffering for her.

LIZ -- Oh. I see. Well, then she's a Christian. (grabs paper, 
pulls out pen)

AMY -- But, you said....

LIZ -- I just remembered, Grandma told me in a moment of 
lucidity that she was a Christian. 

AMY -- Oh. I see.

LIZ -- Where do I sign? 

AMY -- (points) There on the bottom. Sign and date it.

LIZ -- (signs) Okay. So, when are you going to do the deed?

AMY -- (takes paper, offers another paper) You need to sign this 
form now.

LIZ -- What's this?

AMY -- It certifies that YOU are a Christian or a Jew.

LIZ -- ME?! What possible difference could it make what religion 
I am?!

AMY -- The state legislators wanted to avoid the Dutch mistake 
of taking death too lightly. Some patients in Holland were 
killed because there was a shortage of hospital beds. The 
legislators knew that only Christians and Jews have the unique 
knowledge that humans have an intrinsic value more than mere 
animals, because they were created in the image of God. By 
signing this form you acknowledge that humans have worth even if 
they can no longer perform any functions of value to society.

LIZ -- (signs) Okay. So, when are you going to do the deed?

AMY -- (takes paper, offers another paper) You need to sign 
this...

LIZ -- ...Another form?!

AMY -- I'm sorry... it's an informed consent form. (points) Sign 
and date it on the bottom.

LIZ -- What am I being informed of?

AMY -- Under the provision of the new law, because the Dutch 
people took euthanasia so lightly, YOU will be doing the 
killing yourself.

LIZ -- ME?!

AMY -- As her next of kin.

LIZ -- ME?!

AMY -- Is there a problem with that?

LIZ -- Well, yes! I'm not a killer!

AMY -- When the new state law was being formulated, the medical 
practitioners said it was a violation of their oath to kill 
those they were suppose to save. So, the killing is left up to 
the next of kin.

LIZ -- Oh. How gruesome.

AMY -- I think it's actually a good idea.

LIZ -- Why?

AMY -- Well, the next of kin are not as likely to take death so 
lightly if they have to administer it themselves.

LIZ -- (sigh) Oh, alright, I'll do it. Just give me the pills.

AMY -- Pills?

LIZ -- Yes, the cyanide or the arsenic, whatever you kill them 
with.

AMY -- I'm sorry, but cyanide and arsenic produce a very 
painful death. 

LIZ -- They're quick aren't they?

AMY -- Well, yes, but the purpose of euthanasia was to put an 
end to suffering.

LIZ -- Well, then just give me an overdose of sleeping pills or 
barbiturates or something.

AMY -- I'm sorry, but pills were ruled out as a means of killing 
in this state, because Dutch doctors reported that one in four 
patience given an overdose of drugs lingered in pain for days 
before they died....

LIZ -- ...Just tell me how to kill her and I'll do it!

AMY -- (pulls out paper, lays on top of informed consent form) 
This is a diagram of the apparatus. You lay the patient face 
down on the....

LIZ -- (gasps) You must be joking!

AMY -- No. This is the state-approved apparatus for mercy 
killing. It's quick and painless. Your mother will never...

LIZ -- This is a guillotine!

AMY -- Yes, it was designed by the French as a quick and 
painless method of executing criminals.

LIZ -- My mother is not a criminal!

AMY -- But it's quick and painless. Your goal is to put her out 
of her misery as quickly as possible. It doesn't get any quicker 
than this.

LIZ -- But this is barbaric!

AMY -- What is barbaric? Killing innocent people? Or killing 
innocent people with a guillotine?

LIZ -- (stands, drops papers into Amy's lap) This whole thing! 
It's ridiculous! (exiting) Forget it! I'll find another way to 
get a down payment for the house.

AMY -- (shrugs, exits opposite)

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