Essay on Jack Kevorkian

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Jack Kevorkian

Jack Kevorkian was born in 1928 in Pontiac, Michigan, to Armenian immigrants. He grew up in Pontiac and went on to college and medical school at the University of Michigan, where he received his medical degree in 1952. Dr Kevorkian chose pathology as his specialty, which involves trying to determine causes of disease and death. He served in Korea as an Army medical officer, then came back to Michigan and began residency.

It was apparent that Dr. Kevorkian had an obsession with death even in his residency, where he often requested to work the night shift because more patients died at night. It was during his residency where he first acquired the nickname Dr. Death. He experimented with photographing the eyes of
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He wrote many articles on euthanasia, and he again proposed research on prisoners being executed. Most publishers rejected his works, but he was published in a few obscure journals (Betzold, 1993).

In 1986 Kevorkian moved back to Michigan but was unable to find a job because of his controversial writings. He made a trip to Amsterdam, where he observed widely tolerated (but illegal at the time) assisted suicide. Inspired, he began placing ads in local newspapers’ classified sections for “death counseling,” but no terminally ill patients responded.

In 1989 Kevorkian heard the story of David Rivlin, a 38-year old Michigan man who had become a quadriplegic at 19, and had been reduced to needing a respirator after a failed spinal surgery. Rivlin wanted to be taken off life support, and when Kevorkian heard of his story, he worked on helping him commit suicide (Betzold, 1993). Kevorkian designed and built his Thanatron (Greek for “death machine”), which he built for $30 using parts that he found at garage sales (Garsten, 1999). However, Rivlin refused Kevorkian’s help and used another doctor to remove life support.

Kevorkian then tried to put an ad in a county medical society’s bulletin, asking for terminally ill patients who wanted help in committing suicide. The medical society rejected him, but a local TV station reported on his assisted-death

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