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Jack Kevorkian, AKA Dr. Death, Dies At Age 83

Jack Kevorkian, AKA Dr. Death, Dies At Age 83

Dr. Jack Kevorkian, a longtime advocate of assisted suicide, has died of kidney-related problems in a Detroit hospital after a short illness. He was 83.

Kevorkian is best known for his advocacy of assisted suicide. Between 1990 and 1999, Kevorkian was present at the deaths of more than 130 people. With each death, Kevorkian became more and more brazen as he attempted to change the law around assisted suicide by flouting it.

He created a “suicide machine” that, he said, allowed terminally ill people to end their lives in a humane and painless way. Kevorkian would inform the police of deaths he had assisted, waving a proverbial red flag in front of the face of the law, and he stood trial several times for murder without being convicted, allowing him to carry on.

Kevorkian was finally convicted of murder in the 1998 death of Thomas Youk.  Youk’s suicide was videotaped by CBS’ 60 Minutes and broadcast nationally, giving the prosecution ample evidence to use against Kevorkian in court. He was sentenced to 10 to 25 years in prison. Kevorkian was released early from this sentence on the basis of good behavior, and on a promise that he would not engage in any more assisted suicides.

Kevorkian’s stance on assisted suicide was hugely controversial, as was Kevorkian himself. Disabled rights advocates said that allowing assisted suicide sent the message that disabled people should simply end their lives rather than live with disabilities, and that Kevorkian preyed on the mentally ill and encouraged them to kill themselves rather than get assistance.

There are no plans for a memorial service.

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Photo credit: Joeflintham on Flickr

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4:19PM PDT on Jun 21, 2011

to Tony .... I totally agree with your comment. And this standpoint would be 'normally" COMMON SENSE. But we departed of common sense because most people are not used to think for themselves, they just repeat the opinion of the press and other lobby groups.
Unhealthy food clouds the mind as well.

Common sense is close to extinction ....... the people who still have it, must become louder.

1:59PM PDT on Jun 21, 2011

Oops word 21 should be life

1:57PM PDT on Jun 21, 2011

I believe EVERYBODY has the right to die with dignity. If you have a living will and dictate that if live becomes unbearable you should have the right to end it. We are supposed to have free will. It should be your choice and not any government's or religious group to decide when you can die. As someone else in this post said "We treat our animals better and with more compassion than we treat humans"

11:26AM PDT on Jun 9, 2011

If I am not mistaken Oregon has or had a law allowing assisted suicide. I understand that it was used mostly as a bargaining chip--either give me adequate pain management or put me out of my misery.

1:23PM PDT on Jun 8, 2011

Did he need assistance? Sorry,that was bad taste. I do think people who are terminally ill and in pain should have the right to end it,but this guy in particular I think was a lunatic.

8:15PM PDT on Jun 7, 2011

thanks for this post.

2:16PM PDT on Jun 7, 2011

...And what assistance for the mentally ill were you referring to?
More drugs? This is considered life?
Dr. Kevorkian acted out of compassion.

1:36PM PDT on Jun 7, 2011

From what I am aware of, at least here in Canada, we have a Power of Attorney that we sign that states that if we are on life support and the chances of us living are slim to none our POA has the power to state to pull the plug (I'm sure I'm leaving some legal stuff out, but you get the picture).
Would that not be considered assisted suicide??? I am for a cause like this, if you are suffering and after all of the research is done to your condition, your ability to make decisions and that nothing else can be done I think that this is a good option. You would not want to watch your loved ones suffer, nor would I. I had to watch my grandpa suffer and it was the WORST time of my life and I am sure if he was given the option he would have asked to have his suffering ended

6:20AM PDT on Jun 7, 2011

I don't know why we feel we have the right to intrude on someone's choice to take their own life to begin with. If someone doesn't want to live any longer, then so be it. Their choice, not for the rest of America to be involved with.

3:49AM PDT on Jun 7, 2011

And I don't think it was Kevorkian's actions that eventually changed public perception in states that now allow limited forms of aid-in-dying - it was more likely the patient work of organizations like Compassion & Choices (formerly the Hemlock Society) which tirelessly lobbied both the public and state governments for those changes, year after year.

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