Dr. Kevorkian Essay, Research Paper
History and BackgroundDr Jack Kevorkian, a 70-year-old retired pathologist, has devoted most of his life to the campaign for assisted suicide. He has admitted helping more than 130 people to end their lives. To date only 48 have cases been documented, including the assisted suicide documented on 60 MinutesDr Kevorkian was born in 1928 in Pontiac, Michigan, to a family of Armenian immigrants. He embarked on a career in pathology, gaining the nickname “Dr Death” in the 1950s through his efforts to photograph the eyes of dying patients. He became the chief pathologist of Saratoga General Hospital in Detroit in 1970, but he quit his career a few years later, traveled to California, and invested his life savings in directing and producing a feature movie based on Handel’s Messiah. He started writing about euthanasia in the 1980s, first in an obscure German journal Medicine and Law, outlining for example his proposed system of planned deaths in suicide clinics, including medical experimentation on patients. The first suicide he was involved in was the 1990 death of Jane Adkins, 54, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. She died in Dr Kevorkian’s Volkswagen van in Groveland Oaks Park near Holly, Michigan. Her death was assisted by a “suicide machine” – built by Dr Kevorkian using $30 worth of scrap parts from garage sales and hardware stores at his kitchen table. Six months later a murder charge against Dr Kevorkian was dismissed – the ruling has never been appealed. Since then, Dr Kevorkian has been acquitted in two more trials involving four other deaths. In 1995, he even opened a “suicide clinic” in an office in Springfield Township, Michigan, but was booted out by the building’s owner a few days after his first client died.
Dr, Kevorkian is now waiting sentencing first-degree murder. He was found guilty after he was shown on US primetime television administering a lethal injection to his terminally ill patient, Thomas Youk.