Jack Kevorkian - The Pioneer in Physician Assisted Suicide
Pathologist Jack Kevorkian was born on May 26th 1928 in Michigan. His family escaped from the Armenian Genocide and this incident had a great influence on his life. He was a multi skilled person and was well versed in several languages and music. During his high school period he learned Japanese and German to serve the country during the war. He later joined the army as a medical officer. He did not believe in the existence of God and stopped going to church by the age of 12.
Jack was good at his academics and he continued his studies in history, philosophy and medical ethics. He made great contributions to the field of medical science through his journals, diagrams and the books he wrote. But all his art works, musical compositions, books and others were stolen from his storage location. His art works were not just for the sake of art but were a depiction of social, political and medical viewpoints. The paintings even represented medical conditions like fever and paralysis that he came across in his profession. He worked mostly as a pathologist and conducted extensive research on techniques to save life.He usually wrote on controversial topics and was even imprisoned on a sentence for second-degree murder.
He was released after 8 years on the condition that he wouldn't give death advice. It was in the late 1980's that he began specifically in this path when he was trying to find solutions to end the sufferings of mentally competent and terminally ill patients and that led him to publish the book 'Prescription Medicine: The Goodness of Planned Death'. Until the 1990s he was acquitted many times for helping people end pain and sufferings. But the prison sentence was issued after he helped a man with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
He hit the headlines infamously in 1990 when he was accused of assisting Janet Adkins who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. She was looking for help to commit suicide and that was when she approached Jack Kevorkian and volunteered to use his 'suicide machine'. The IV was attached by Kevorkian, but Adkins administered the painkiller and the poison by herself. Finally the Kevorkian's case was dismissed as there were no strict laws in Michigan against assisted suicide.
After 2 years of parole he became a free man and released the book GlimmerIQs. He even served as a visiting lecturer in various Universities like Havard and Nova Southeastern. The movie You Don't Know Jack was inspired by the life of Jack Kevorkian and there is another one in the making which is a documentary of his life. He was diagnosed with Hepatitis C and doctors expected him to live for a little more time. But he changed his destiny and did all that he can by giving away speeches about assisted suicide. He even stood as an independent candidate in 2008 US Congress election in Michigan. He managed to gain 2.6 percent of the votes.
He died at the age of 83, on June 3 2011 at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak. He was admitted with kidney and heart problem and was hospitalized for 2 weeks before his death.