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Whose Life is it Anyway? is about Ken Harrison's determination to decide his own fate, and about the determination of those who care for him to keep him alive. What are the arguments used by both sides?

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Introduction

Whose Life is it Anyway? is about Ken Harrison's determination to decide his own fate, and about the determination of those who care for him to keep him alive. What are the arguments used by both sides? Ken Harrison is suffering from a ruptured spinal column and various other blood problems. He cannot lead life by himself outside the hospital. His sickness will kill him and so he has to be kept alive by medical technology. He is however very determined to exercise a choice over his own life or death. He chooses to die rather than having to live this life. His decision is being opposed by the forces of medical bureaucracy who try to keep him alive. The case is taken to court and each side have their own arguments. Ken, being the patient, is in a situation where he can only think but can't act according to his thoughts. If he wasn't suffering and was not controlled by the medical profession, the path which he chooses to take in life wouldn't be obstructed. Professionally, Ken is a sculptor but considering his present situation, we can say that he is more like a sculpture. He is creative and has the ability to imagine and speak, but he cannot move. He can dream of his arts but when it comes to creating art, he will not be able to do it. ...read more.

Middle

Ken feels detached and not part of the group. For example when Ken asks Mrs. Boyle a personal question, she refrains to answer. Ken says "When I say something really awkward you just pretend I haven't said anything at all." This shows that he is frustrated with the fact that everybody around him is treating him professionally. People don't respond to his questions properly the way they should, neither do they respond to what he really needs. The only person who is personal to him is John, but Kay, the new nurse is between the two. She wants to be personal but is cautious due to her professional training. He has become an object of scientific virtuosity. His fate is to become a medical achievement. It is valuable to the doctors but to Ken it is like as if he is not leading his own life. "...Everything is geared just to keep my brain active, with no real possibility of it ever being able to direct anything. As far as I can see, that is an act of deliberate cruelty". He believes that the hospital is treating him cruelly. He is unhappy because he is not given any control over his decisions. The medical staffs think that he is incapable of deciding on his own which is not true because he is perfectly fit mentally. ...read more.

Conclusion

My personal opinion on this subject is that I believe Ken should be released from the hospital. The hospital may present optimistic arguments of Ken's probable cure in future but I feel that the future for Ken solely depends on him and so if he has chosen his path in life, let it be. If he has to live in hope for the rest of his life then it is better he is faced with death as it has to come around anyway. If he was happy living hopefully in hospital, then it's a different matter but why does he have to stay in hospital if he's suffering. His future is indefinite and his presence in the hospital doesn't much affect the lives of medical staffs as they have to stick being professional. So, his absence in hospital won't do much change to the doctors either because they have to continue with their life and their goal to save others. However him being able to implement his own choice of death makes him happy, may be because he doesn't have to deal with the pain anymore and him being given the power to exercise this choice makes him feel he has regained control over his decision making him feel more powerful to himself for the last time of his life and well, 'whose life is it anyway?'. ...read more.

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