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The EuthAnasia Machine invented by Jack Kevorkian

Updated on October 18, 2011


Jack Kevorkian was born in Michigan on the 26th May 1928. He graduated from the University of Michigan Medical school in 1952.

Kevorkian was a supporter of euthanasia and put his opinions in writing for the German periodical "Medecine and Law". In 1987 aged 35 he started to advertise as a "death counsellor".

Kevorkian's "counselling" was to help people to die. Between 1990 and 1998 he helped more than 100 terminally ill people to die. He produced a machine called a "Thanatron" which was linked to the patient by drip. A fatal dose of drugs was fed through the drip to the patient who then died. Kevorkian could only use his machine for the first year of his practise as he had his licence revoked which meant that he was unable to obtain the drugs for the machine. After this he used a method of placing a mask over the patients face and then connecting it to a can of carbon dioxide. This was called the Mercitron.Kervorkian has always said that he let the patient take the last fatal steps- he just made sure that the equipment was assembled and placed in the correct manner.

Several times Kevorkian was tried for assisting a suicide but each time the was acquitted.

On 17th September 1978 Kevorkian made a video of the death of patient who was sufferring from Motor Neurone Disease. In camera he injected the victim, Thomas Youk aged 52 with a solution of potassium chloride which killed him. The tape was broadcast on National TV and Kevorkian dared the authorities to stop him helping people end their own lives. The District Attorney replied with a charge of 1st degree murder and the delivery of a controlled substance as he was not medically licensed.

Jack Kervorkian
Jack Kervorkian

Kevorkian did not instruct counsel and represented himself at the trial. He had some difficulty with the trial as the judge ruled that the evidence of his witnesses was inadmissable and as Kervorkian was not experienced he had little to fight back with. He was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to 10-20 years in prison. He was parolled on 1st June 2007 on the condition that he would not offer or help any person to commit suicide. Since his release Kervorkian has given a number of lectures and appeared on TV promoting assisted suicide for the chronically ill. His memoirs were published earlier this year which centres around his views on over population "When the People Bubble Pop's".

A film of his life was premiered on 14th April 2010., "You don't know Jack" starring Susan Sarendon and John Goodman, directed by Barry Levinson. At the preview Kervorkian walked up the red carpet accompanied by Al Pacino who took the role of Kervorkian in the film


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