preview

Dr. Kevorkian Assisted Suicide Case Study

Better Essays
Dr. Kevorkian: Observed Through a Microscope Dr. Kevorkian was responsible for the deaths of many people through the process of assisted suicide. He conducted more than 130 throughout his career, most of them were committed during the 1990’s. Because he assisted in the suicides of so many people, he faced scrutiny unlike any other case in the past. Dr. Kevorkian created a whole new category of death and wanted people to know about it. Furthermore, he hoped people would use assisted suicide to their advantage. As a result of his yearn for the public to grasp this new phenomenon, he was acquitted and tried in court for the death of Thomas Youk in 1998. With the case being so important to the topic of assisted suicide, prosecutors wanted to make…show more content…
Kevorkian was tried in court with the whole world watching. This case gained so much attention because of the national airing of the suicide video on 60 minutes. In fact, Kevorkian wanted to be tried in court so everyone on Earth could hear about assisted suicide. The initial charge Dr. Kevorkian was being tried for was second degree murder. Prosecutors gave him this charge because this was one of the only times Kevorkian administered the lethal drugs himself (as opposed to the patient pressing the button on the Thanatron to release the deadly drugs). Kevorkian injected Thomas Youk himself because he believed it was more humane that way. Because Kevorkian literally injected Thomas Youk to kill him (Hansen), prosecutors believed that it was murder and not suicide. To show that it was murder and not suicide, the video of the assisted suicide was played in the court room for the jury to see. Kevorkian believed it was a mercy killing and not murder. Additionally, Kevorkian (acting as his own defense) said he was providing a medical service to a patient suffering from incurable agony and that he reserved the right to die. In his final remarks, Kevorkian states that Thomas Youk came to him because he needed someone to help him instead of just killing him. To add on to that, Kevorkian stated that if a doctor amputates a patient then it is okay because he is doctor. Because of that fact, he strongly believes that…show more content…
The jury decided to not side with Dr. Kevorkian and convicted him guilty of second degree murder. Kevorkian was given the minimum sentence of ten to twenty five years in prison with an opportunity for parole. After eight years behind bars, Kevorkian was let out of prison on parole for good behavior. Moreover, he was also diagnosed with terminal Hepatitis C which was causing his kidneys to fail. In addition to being let of prison, Dr. Kevorkian promised he would never participate in assisted suicide again (Morlan). After Kevorkian served his time, he believed that it was pointless to keep advocating for assisted suicide because “if he could not fix the problem then, he would not fix it now.” Furthermore, he stated that it is up to the next generation to keep up this issue. Afterward, Kevorkian decided to travel around the country to talk about assisted suicide instead of actively participating in it. He stated that he wanted to instill this subject into the minds of the next generation so they might begin to advocate and stand up for what they believe
Get Access