Health Law

'Dr. Death' Freed to Rejoin Suicide Fight

Jack Kevorkian, the so-called Dr. Death who reportedly helped an estimated 130 people, by his count, commit suicide, is to be freed from a Michigan prison today after serving eight years for second-degree murder in the death of a man stricken with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

The 79-year-old former Pontiac pathologist was paroled on condition that he not be involved in the care of anyone over 62, or even counsel anyone about commiting suicide, explains the Detroit Free Press in an editorial today. His failing health was the reason for his parole, Reuters reports.

Nonetheless, Kevorkian is expected to advocate for laws permitting assisted suicide – although the newspaper expresses hope that he will do so without re-creating what it refers to as the “ghoulish circus” surrounding the “suicide machine” he previously used to administer a fatal drug cocktail to volunteers seeking to end their lives. So far, Oregon is reportedly the only state that has enacted a law permitting doctors to help patients commit suicide.

Relatives of some individuals whom Kevorkian helped out of this world expressed anger and sadness over the news of his imminent release, while others lauded his efforts, reports AP. Terry Youk, brother of the 52-year-old man whose death led to Kevorkian’s conviction, said Kevorkian acted responsibly and his brother, who was not able to give himself shots due to his disease, “was very clear about what he wanted to do.”

Kevorkian’s lawyer says he should have no trouble making a living: he has a number of speaking engagements lined up, including some paying between $50,000 and $100,000, Reuters says.

We welcome your comments, but please adhere to our comment policy and the ABA Code of Conduct.

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.