Funeral for Dr. Jack Kevorkian

Jun 21, 2011 | 0 comments

The words about “Dr. Death” Jack Kevorkian show that the man had an impact in getting the end-of-life conversation going. Here is a sampling of articles that have appeared about him since his death and funeral. Click on the name of the publication to read the entire story.

Detroit Free Press, June 3: Fieger: ‘Kevorkian didn’t seek out history, but he made history’

Attorney Geoffrey Fieger, who defended Michigan’s most famous felon pathologist Jack Kevorkian on many of his cases, looked emotional today as he spoke about his former client and friend.

“Dr. Jack Kevorkian was a rare human being,” Fieger said as he read from a statement at his Southfield office. “He was an historic man.”

Kevorkian, who had been hospitalized with kidney and respiratory problems for several weeks at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, died early this morning. He was 83.

Kevorkian who became simply known as “Dr. Death” became infamous in the 1990s for physician-assisted suicides, admitting to helping 130 people end their lives — a practice that eventually led to his jailing of eight years but in return sparked national debate on the ethics behind physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients.

Detroit Free Press, June 10: Assisted suicide advocate Dr. Jack Kevorkian remembered as a man of conviction, passion

Much of Dr. Jack Kevorkian’s life was focused on death.

But in the end, his friends, family and admirers remembered him mostly for being a man of conviction and passion.

Controversy was never far from the man known as Dr. Death, but those who spoke at a memorial service Friday at Troy’s White Chapel Cemetery recalled someone whose public persona and reputation failed to convey the complexity of his life’s story.

“Most people don’t know Jack,” said attorney Mayer Morganroth, referencing the movie “You Don’t Know Jack,” which chronicled Kevorkian’s advocacy of assisted suicide.

By attending to 130 suicides, Kevorkian, who was convicted of second-degree murder in 1999, thrust issues of choice over suffering, and the moral and legal dilemmas posed by assisted suicide, into the public consciousness.

Detroit Free Press, June 3: Family members of those Jack Kevorkian assisted are grateful for his help

In June 1990, an Oregon woman named Janet Adkins flew with her husband to Michigan to meet Jack Kevorkian, who had constructed his first suicide machine.

Kevorkian assisted Adkins’ death in his van in rural Oakland County on June 4, 1990. The Free Press reported in 2007 that when Kevorkian called the county medical examiner, the person on the phone had trouble grasping the concept of physician-assisted suicide.

Adkins was 54 at the time of her death and had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. She knew what the progression of the disease would do to her, said longtime friend Judy Humiston, and wasn’t prepared to live that way.

American Medical News, June 20: Dr. Kevorkian leaves mixed medical legacy

He made Americans more aware of end-of-life choices, but experts say his agenda took precedence over the best interests of his patients.

The death of pathologist Jack Kevorkian, MD, left many pondering the long-term influence of a highly controversial figure and what role he may have played in transforming the nation’s perception of dying.

Some think his aggressive push for physician-assisted suicide forced the medical profession to take a closer look at care of the terminally ill. But others say Dr. Kevorkian lacked a sense of proper medical ethics and that his actions were motivated more by a desire to advance his agenda than compassion for patients.

Huffington Post, June 4: Reflections on Jack Kevorkian: Who Owns Death? by Janice Van Dyck

We all value our freedom to live by our own measure. Do you think we should have the freedom to die that way as well?

I keep promising myself and my family that I’m done writing about death and dying. But then something happens — like the How To Die In Oregon movie or Jack Kevorkian’s death — and there I am again, wanting to challenge your thinking on what it means to die in the 21st century. Sometimes it seems there’s a genuine movement going on here. Every time I turn around, someone is pushing our comfort zone on end-of-life decisions.

A Good Goodbye