A Crime Of Compassion

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In her essay “A Crime of Compassion” Barbarra Huttman, a forty-seven years old nurse, explains about a TV audience accusing her of murder. The essay talks about one of her favorite patient Mac being resuscitated from lung cancer constantly. Mac, a young, macho cop had been wasted away to a skinny skeleton, kept a live by liquid food and oxygenated through a pipe that was attached to the mask on his face. He begged the nurses to just let him die; he could not handle any more torture in his life.

        Every time Mac stopped breathing the nurse was told to press the “code blue” (pg. 77) button that sends the team to resuscitate him. The nurse had given her all to keep Mac in check. Barbarra Huttman felt that we did not have the right to force “life” (pg. 77) on a suffering man who begged for death. Every morning she had asked Mac’s doctor for a “no-code” order.

The no-code order gives the nurse the power over the code blue button. Macs doctor believed that we must prolong our life as long as we can. Barbarra Huttman was aware that if she had decided not to press the button, she would be accused of murder. She could not resist seeing him getting tortured any longer, she had told him “I’ll stop” (pg. 78) as she injected the pain medication. Eventually, when she entered the “legal twilight zone” (pg. 78) she had pressed the code blue button. The team did not have any chances to resuscitate him again. Barbarra Huttman concludes that until the legislation does not approve the criminal act for a no-code patient, we do not have any reason to die, but perhaps we have the rights to extend our life.