‘Dr. Death’ Jack Kevorkian dies

United Press International UPI
June 3 2011

‘Dr. Death’ Jack Kevorkian dies

ROYAL OAK, Mich., June 3

Jack Kevorkian, 83, the Michigan doctor whose advocacy for assisted
suicide created havoc for medical ethicists and law agencies, died
Friday, his lawyer said.

Mayer Morganroth said Kevorkian died at Beaumont Hospital in Royal
Oak, Mich., where he was hospitalized for about two weeks with kidney
and heart problems, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Morganroth said it appears Kevorkian suffered a pulmonary thrombosis
when a blood clot in his leg dislodged and settled in his heart. The
attorney said he and Kevorkian’s niece were with the pathologist when
he died.

“It was peaceful. He didn’t feel a thing,” Morganroth said, adding
that no artificial means were used to keep Kevorkian alive.

Hospital staff said Kevorkian’s passing was “a tremendous loss and I
agree with them,” Morganroth said. “He did so much.”

Morganroth said he doubted whether anyone would assume Kevorkian’s
role in assisted suicide, the Free Press said

“Who else would take those kind of risks?” the attorney asked.

Morganroth said there are no plans for a memorial.

Kevorkian was convicted of second-degree murder in 1999 and sentenced
to 10-25 years in prison but was released in 2007. Last year, he was
the subject of “You Don’t Know Jack,” an award-winning HBO movie
starring Al Pacino.

He was born Youran Kevorkian on May 26, 1928, in Pontiac, Mich., the
son of Louis and Satana Kevorkian, who settled in the Detroit area
after fleeing Armenia.

Called a hero by some and a serial killer by others, Kevorkian became
known around the world as “Dr. Death” for his self-styled crusade for
assisted suicide.

In June 1990 he thrust himself onto the public stage by declaring his
first assisted suicide in suburban Detroit. He helped a 54-year-old
Oregon woman die in the back of his Volkswagen van with his so-called
“suicide machine.” Alzheimer’s patient Janet Adkins pressed a button
that sent potassium chloride into her veins, stopping her heart.

In the next eight years, Kevorkian attended the deaths of more than
120 people in Michigan, including people from several other states and
Canada who traveled to Detroit to die. In most cases Kevorkian
provided the means for suicide. Others, due to physical impairments,
were euthanized. Aiding him at the scenes were longtime friend Janet
Good or, after she died of cancer, psychiatrist Dr. Georges Reding.

Bodies were dropped off at hospital emergency rooms, left in motel
rooms or homes where the deaths occurred, or found in vehicles parked
outside Detroit-area morgues. Families of the deceased supported
Kevorkian. Nearly every death prompted a police investigation.

Outraged by his behavior but stumped by legal loopholes, the state of
Michigan enacted separate laws banning assisted suicide in 1993 and
1998. In addition, the Michigan Supreme Court declared assisted
suicide a violation of common law.

In November 1998 Kevorkian was convicted of resisting arrest in a May
scuffle with police during a body drop-off. He was fined and placed on
two years probation.

Eighteen days after the conviction, the CBS newsmagazine “60 Minutes”
broadcast a videotape Kevorkian gave the network to force a legal
showdown over the right-to-die issue. Kevorkian had defiantly
administered a lethal injection to a 52-year-old man and videotaped
the session in September, less than three weeks after the state’s
second assisted suicide ban took effect.

The video triggered another Kevorkian arrest, this time for murder,
assisting in a suicide and delivery of a controlled substance.

On numerous occasions Kevorkian openly challenged police, prosecutors
and lawmakers, often calling them “Nazis” and “Gestapo.” He also
blasted religious authorities who criticized him and medical groups
that opposed his position, especially the American Medical
Association.

Kevorkian never married and once said in an interview his life was a
failure. He said: “If I had married, I’d have kids — kids and family
are everything.”

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