Physician-assisted suicide advocate Jack Kevorkian dead at 83

Share this article:

The controversial assisted-suicide advocate Jack Kevorkian, M.D., died June 3 in a Detroit area hospital. Although his official cause of death has not been confirmed, press reports suggest it was pulmonary thrombosis.
 
Known as “Dr. Death,” Kevorkian strongly advocated for the legalization of physician-assisted suicide. He is believed to have helped in the death of more than 130 terminally ill patients between 1990 and 2000. After earning his medical degree from the University of Michigan Medical School, Kevorkian became a pathologist. In 1990, he used his own “suicide machine” to assist with the death of a woman with early-onset Alzheimer's. His other clients had conditions such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease), multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's, brain tumors and other forms of cancer.
 
While he successfully beat four attempts at murder convictions in Michigan, his luck eventually ran out. Kevorkian assisted with the death of a 52-year-old ALS patient, which he recorded on tape and then sent to the CBS news program “60 Minutes” in 1998. He was convicted the following year of second-degree murder. He agreed in 2007 to not assist in any more suicides as a condition of his parole.
 
Although he was a controversial figure, advocates on both sides of the euthanasia debate acknowledge that Kevorkian succeeded at raising awareness of the rights of the terminally ill. His views about helping individuals with chronic and disabling pain were one factor in spurring the acceptance of hospice and end-of-life care. Physician-assisted suicide is now legal in Oregon and Washington.

Share this article:

More in News

Skilled nursing facilities with poor quality ratings do not readmit more patients to hospitals, researchers find

Skilled nursing facilities with poor quality ratings do ...

Low-quality and high-quality skilled nursing facilities readmit about the same proportion of residents to hospitals, suggest research findings recently published in the American Journal of Medical Quality.

Cipro and related antibiotics increase MRSA risk in long-term care facilities, study ...

Long-term care residents on a fluoroquinolone antibiotic such as Cipro are at an increased risk for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, researchers in France have found.

Jonathan Blum, who oversaw long-term care reforms, resigns as head of Medicare

The nation's top Medicare official, Jonathan Blum, is leaving his post next month, news outlets reported Tuesday. Blum became a familiar figure to long-term care providers through Open Door Forum calls and other outreach efforts during his five-year tenure, as he guided implementation of Medicare ...