June 3, 2011 by staff
Jack Kevorkian, Dr. Jack Kevorkian, the coroner who helped dozens of terminally ill people kill themselves, becoming the central figure in a national drama surrounding assisted suicide, died Friday in a Detroit-area hospital. He was 83 The cause is unknown, but local media reported he had suffered from kidney and respiratory problems and that his condition had been deteriorating in recent days. Geoffrey Feiger, the attorney who represented Dr. Kevorkian for several of his essays in the 1990’s, confirmed his death, William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan.
Dr. Kevorkian challenged social taboos about the disease and death, prosecutors voluntarily and challenging the court since actively sought to national celebrity. He spent eight years in prison after being convicted of second-degree murder in the death of the last of more than 100 terminally ill patients whose life he helped end.
Since June 1990, when he assisted in suicide first, until March 1999 when he was sentenced to 10-25 years in a maximum-security prison, Dr. Kevorkian was a controversial figure. But critics and supporters generally agree on this: As a result of his stubborn defense and often intemperate right of terminally ill people to choose how to die, hospice care has soared in the United States, and doctors have become more sympathetic to their pain and more likely to prescribe drugs for pain relief.
In 1997, Oregon became the first state to enact a law making it legal for doctors to prescribe lethal drugs to help terminally ill patients end their lives. In 2006 the Supreme Court upheld a lower court decision that found the Oregon Death with Dignity Act to protect a legitimate medical practice.
During the nine years between the adoption of the law and the court’s decision, Dr. Kevorkian confrontation thousands of consumer strategy of column inches in national newspapers, graced the covers of national magazines and drew the attention of “60 Minutes “and other television news. His nickname Dr. Death, and his suicide machine made himself, whom he variously called the “Mercitron” or “Thanatron,” became fodder for late night television comedians.
His story became the subject of HBO’s 2010 film “You do not Know Jack.” Al Pacino, who played Dr. Kevorkian in the film, won an Emmy and Golden Globe for his performance. In his speech accepting the Emmy award, Pacino said it was rewarding “trying to portray someone so bright and interesting and unique,” as Dr. Kevorkian and who had been a “pleasure to meet you.” Dr. Kevorkian, who was in the audience, smiled in appreciation.
Given his age and his stubborn personality delight in flaying medical critics as “hypocritical oafs,” Dr. Kevorkian guests reveled in the attention of the public, regardless of their sting.
The American Medical Association in 1995 called him “a reckless instrument of death” that “poses a great threat to the public.”
Diane Coleman, founder of Not Dead Yet, an advocacy group the right to life once picket house of Dr. Kevorkian in Royal Oak, a suburb of Detroit, attacked his approach. “It’s the ultimate form of discrimination, to provide people with disabilities help to die,” he said, “without offering real choices to live.”
But Jack Lessenberry, a prominent journalist in Michigan, which covers about Dr. Kevorkian’s campaign for a single man, said: “Jack Kevorkian, flaws and all, was an important force for good in this society. We are forced to pay attention to one of the biggest elephants in the room of society. The fact that the number of today many people are alive, who would rather be dead, who have a life not worth living ”
In late 1980, after a mediocre career in medicine and treated without success in a career in the arts, Dr. Kevorkian rediscovered the fascination with death, not a private event, but as a public policy approach that had marked his early years in medicine.
As a student at the School of Medicine, University of Michigan, where he graduated in 1952, and later as a resident at the University of Michigan Medical Center, Dr. Kevorkian proposed murderers sentenced to die giving the option to be implemented with anesthesia in order to submit their bodies for medical experimentation and allow the collection of organs. Delivered a paper on the subject of a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1958.
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