‘Dr. Death’ Kevorkian passes at 83

The infamous euthanasiast died Friday in Detroit after a blood clot in his leg broke free and became lodged in his heart.
By Patrick Craine

By Patrick Craine

DETROIT, Michigan, June 3, 2011 ( – Dr. Jack Kevorkian, known by many as “Dr. Death” for his role in helping over 100 people commit suicide, died early Friday morning in Detroit.

Kevorkian’s lawyer, Mayer Morganroth, told the Detroit Free Press that the infamous euthanasiast appears to have suffered a pulmonary thrombosis after a blood clot in his leg broke free and became lodged in his heart.

He had been hospitalized at Detroit’s Beaumont Hospital about two weeks ago with kidney and heart problems.

Kevorkian, who killed or assisted in the death of about 130 people, was released in 2007 after eight years for the second-degree murder of Thomas Youk.  He had given Youk the lethal injection himself, and, in a videotape of Youk’s death, dared authorities to try to convict him.

He was released early from a 10-25 year sentence amidst claims of extremely poor health and that he had only a year to live.

Once out of jail, however, he continued his campaign for assisted suicide with high-profile speeches, for which he commanded considerable speaking fees. For a 2007 speech at Florida University he was reportedly paid $50,000.

Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, offered his condolences to Kevorkian’s family.  “We recognize that this is the ending of the life of a man.  We always take that with reverence,” he said.

At the same time, he said, “It’s important to our culture to remember who he actually was,” noting that the euthanasia lobby has attempted to redefine Kevorkian’s image in recent years.  In particular, Kevorkian was the subject of favorable biopic last year starring Al Pacino called “You Don’t Know Jack”.

Despite claims that his murders were motivated by compassion, Kevorkian once described the alleviation of his victims’ suffering as “a first step, an early distasteful professional obligation” to get a license for human experimentation. He was open about his desire to obtain organs for transplantation and experimentation.  He even took the kidneys of one victim to a press conference where he offered them “first come, first served.”

He criticized assisted suicide laws in states like Oregon and Montana for restricting the deadly practice to patients who are terminally ill.  About 70% of his victims were merely disabled and five were found to be healthy after autopsies were performed.

Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, said his organization is praying for Kevorkian’s soul.  “We renew our commitment to proclaim that life is better than death,” he said.  “Every life has burdens. When we respond to the call to bear one another’s burdens, then we close the door to despair. Those who promote the so-called ‘right to die’ are heralds of despair. We, on the other hand, are heralds of hope.”

“And as for the ‘right to die,” I say, ‘Don’t worry – you won’t miss out on it.’“

Finished reading? Want to make a difference?

You depend on our news reporting. We depend on you. Make an impact today.

Share this article