Saturday, June 4, 2011

Controversial Dr. Jack Kevorkian Dies at 83

I heard the news on NPR's All Things Considered Friday. 
Dr. Kevorkian is best known for campaigning for a person's right to die via physician-assisted suicide. Kevorkian first captured the public's attention in 1990. That's when Janet Adkins climbed into the back of his VW van in a suburban Detroit park, laid down and waited as Kevorkian put a needle into her arm. Adkins pushed a button on a machine and released a painkiller and a poison that killed her quickly, sparing her from a future with Alzheimer's disease. But in 1998, Kevorkian helped Tom Youk, who had Lou Gehrig's disease, commit suicide. Kevorkian then sent a video of the process to the news program 60 Minutes. The difference that time was that, instead of the patient pushing a button, Kevorkian administered the lethal injection. Dr. K. spent eight years in prison for second-degree homicide. He'd admitted to assisting 130 of his patients with their death. After being released from prison he'd kept a pretty low profile. He was scheduled to begin a book tour later this month. You Don't Know Jack, a film based on Jack Kevorkian's life premiered on April 24, 2010 on HBO. The film was directed by Barry Levinson and starred Al Pacino, Susan Sarandon, and Danny Huston. Pacino won an Emmy and a Golden Globe Award for his portrayal of Dr. Kevorkian.


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