"My intent was to carry out my duty as a doctor, to end their suffering. Unfortunately, that entailed, in their cases, ending of the life."

Dr. Jacob "Jack" Kevorkian (born Murad Kevorkian), also known by his nickname "Dr. Death", was a physician, pathologist, euthanasia activist and convicted murderer.


Kevorkian was born in Pontiac, Michigan to Levon and Santenig Kevorkian, Armenian immigrants. They had three children together: Margaret, Murad and Flora. He started calling himself "Jack" after a teacher nicknamed him that at school. Strictly religious, the Kevorkians raised their childrens to be Christians, though Jack later started questioning the beliefs; one thing he used as argument was the Armenian Genocide from which his mother had fled. At the age of 12, he stopped attending Sunday school entirely. In school, he enjoyed more artistic activities such as painting and playing the piano, but was also very sceptical of whatever he heard; more often than not, teachers couldn't keep up with his debating skills. He never pursued any romantic relationships because he believed they distracted him from his studies. Kevorkian graduated high school with high honors in 1945, aged 17, and had also taught himself German and Japanese.

At first, Kevorkian studied at the University of Michigan College of Engineering hoping to become a civil engineer, but quickly switched his studies to botany and biology. He finally settled on medical studies, graduating in 1952 and specializing in pathology. In 1953, when the Korean War began, he served 15 months in the U.S. Army as a medical officer and spent the rest of his service time in Colorado. While doing his residency in anatomical and clinical pathology, Kevorkian became fascinated with the act of dying and would photograph the eyes of terminal patients trying to pinpoint the exact moment of death. In 1958, he presented some of his views on euthanasia in a paper to a science journal, proposing that prisoners on death row could be used for medical experiments. Because of his views and odd experiments, his peers nicknamed him "Dr. Death". Because they also led to him becoming a minor celebrity, the university ejected him. He continued his internship at Pontiac General Hospital, where he experimented with transfusing blood from corpses to living patients. The experiments were succesful, but when Kevorkian proposed the idea to the Pentagon, hoping that the technique could be used on battlefields to help injured soldiers, he was for some reason denied a federal grant to continue his research. After becoming qualified as an expert in 1960, Kevorkian worked at different hospitals before settling down in Detroit and opening his own clinic.

In 1987, Kevorkian started advertising himself in newspapers as a physician consultant for "death counseling". His first public assisted suicide was of a 54-year-old Alzheimer patient, Janet Adkins. She had been a member of an organization that advocates voluntary euthanasia for terminal patients. Using a machine he had designed called "the Thanatron", which was built for the purpose of suicide and would first administer a saline solution, then a pain killer and finally a fatal dose of potassium chloride, Kevorkian aided her suicide in a parked Volkswagen in a public park. He was consequentially charged with murder, but since the state of Michigan at the time had an indecisive stand on assisted suicide, he wasn't convicted. In 1991, the Thanatron was barred in Michigan by a legal injunction. Though Kevorkian also lost his medical license, he later claimed to have assisted in over 130 suicides over the following seven years. He designed another suicide machine, "the Mercitron", which basically consisted of a gas mask connected to a canister of carbon monoxide. After a bill prohibiting assisted suicide was passed, Kevorkian found himself on trial for murder four times. In three of those cases he was acquitted because the victims had been the ones who had taken the final action. The fourth ended in a mistrial. In 1998, Kevorkian, rather defiantly, allowed CBS 60 Minutes to air a tape of him euthanizing Thomas Youk, an ALS patient. Afterwards, he dared the legal system to have him prosecuted. Needless to say, he was once again arrested. This time, he was found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced to 10-25 years in prison. On June 1, 2007, only eight years into his sentence, he was paroled on good behavior on the condition that he wouldn't assist in any more suicides, though it didn't stop from lecturing about assisted suicide. He spent the remainder of his life doing that and was also an oil painter and jazz musician, releasing some of his work to the public. In 2008, he announced that he was planning to run for Congress as an independent candidate, but he wasn't elected. On June 3, 2011, he passed away from thrombosis. His epitaph reads "He sacrificed himself for everyone's rights".

Known Victims

Note: While Kevorkian, according to Wikipedia, assisted in the suicides of over 130 people, the following is the one death for which he served time in prison

  • September 17, 1998: Thomas Youk, 52 (suffered from Lou Gehrig's disease)


Other people whose suicides Kevorkian assisted according to the Patients Rights Council

  • June 4, 1990: Janet Adkins, 54 (suffered from Alzheimer's disease)
  • October 23, 1991:
    • Marjorie Wantz, 58 (suffered from abdominal and pelvic pain)
    • Sherry Miller, 43 (suffered from multiple sclerosis)
  • 1992:
    • May 15: Susan Williams, 52 (suffered from multiple sclerosis)
    • September 26: Lois F. Hawes, 52 (suffered from lung cancer)
    • December 15:
      • Marcella Lawrence, 67 (suffered from heart disease, emphysema, liver failure, and arthritis)
      • Marguerite Tate, 70 (suffered from Lou Gehrig's disease)
  • 1993:
    • January 20: Jack E. Miller, 53 (suffered from bone cancer)
    • February 4:
      • Stanley Ball, 82 (suffered from pancreatic cancer and blindness)
      • Mary Biernat, 73 (suffered from breast cancer)
    • February 8: Elaine Goldbaum, 47 (suffered from multiple sclerosis)
    • February 15: Hugh E. Gale, 70 (suffered from emphysema and congestive heart disease)
    • February 18:
      • Jonathon Grenz, 44 (suffered from mouth and throat cancer)
      • Martha Ruwarts, 41 (suffered from duodenal and ovarian cancer)
    • May 16: Ronald Mansur, 56 (suffered from lung and bone cancer)
    • August 4: Thomas Hyde Jr., 30 (suffered from Lou Gehrig's disease)
    • September 9: Donald O'Keefe, 73 (suffered from bone cancer)
    • October 22: Merian Frederick, 72 (suffered from Lou Gehrig's disease)
    • November 22: Ali Khalili, 61 (suffered from bone cancer)
  • November 26, 1994: Margaret Garrish, 72 (suffered from rheumatoid arthritis, colonic diverticulitis, and osteoporosis; also had a leg amputated and lost an eye)
  • 1995:
    • May 8: John Evans, 77 (suffered from pulmonary fibrosis)
    • May 12: Nicholas Loving, 27 (suffered from Lou Gehrig's disease)
    • June 25: Erika Garcellano, 60 (suffered from Lou Gehrig's disease)
    • August 21: Esther Cohen, 46 (suffered from multiple sclerosis and painful ulcers)
    • November 8: Patricia Cashman, 58 (suffered from breast cancer and possibly bone cancer)
  • 1996:
    • January 29: Linda Henslee, 48 (suffered from multiple sclerosis)
    • May 6: Austin Bastable, 53 (suffered from multiple sclerosis)
    • June 10: Ruth Neuman, 69 (suffered from uterine cancer, diabetes, a stroke, and paralysis)
    • June 18: Lona Jones, 58 (suffered from brain cancer)
    • June 20: Betty Lou Hamilton, 67 (suffered from syringomyelia)
    • July 4: Shirley Cline, 63 (suffered from bowel cancer)
    • July 9: Rebecca Badger, 39 (suffered from multiple sclerosis)
    • August 6: Elizabeth Mercz, 59 (suffered from Lou Gehrig's disease)
    • August 15: Judith Curren, 42 (suffered from chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome)
    • August 20: Dortha Louise Sibens, 76 (suffered from Lou Gehrig's disease)
    • August 22:
      • Patricia Smith, 40 (suffered from multiple sclerosis)
      • Pat DiGangi, 66 (suffered from cancer and a stroke)
    • August 30: Loretta Peabody, 54 (suffered from multiple sclerosis)
    • September 2: Jack Leatherman, 73 (suffered from pancreatic cancer)
    • September 7: Isabel Correa, 60 (suffered from spinal diseases)
    • September 29: Richard Faw, 75 (suffered from colon cancer)
    • October 10: William J. Spolar, 70 (suffered from multiple sclerosis)
    • October 17: Nancy DeSoto, 55 (suffered from Lou Gehrig's disease)
    • October 22: Barbara A. Collins, 65 (suffered from ovarian cancer)
  • 1997:
    • February 3:
      • Elaine Day, 79 (suffered from Lou Gehrig's disease)
      • Lisa Lansing, 42 (suffered from Crohn's disease)
    • March 7: Helen P. Livengood, 59 (suffered from severe arthritis pain and crippling esophagus problems)
    • March 18: Albert "Buddy" Miley, 41 (a quadriplegic)
    • March 25: Janette Knowles, 75 (suffered from Lou Gehrig's disease)
    • April 8: Heidi Aseltyne, 27 (suffered from AIDS)
    • May 7: Delouise Bacher, 63 (suffered from multiple sclerosis)
    • June 26: Janis Murphy, 40 (suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia)
    • July 1:
      • Dorinda Scheipsmeier, 51 (suffered from multiple sclerosis)
      • Lynne Dawn Lennox, 54
    • August 13: Karen Shoffstall, 34 (suffered from multiple sclerosis)
    • August 26: Janet Good, 73 (suffered from pancreatic cancer)
    • August 29: Thomas Summerslee, 55 (suffered from multiple sclerosis)
    • September 3: Carol Fox, 54 (suffered from ovarian cancer)
    • September 7: Deborah Sickels, 43 (suffered from multiple sclerosis)
    • September 20: Natverlal Thakore, 78 (suffered from Parkinson's disease)
    • September 29: Kari Miller, 54 (suffered from multiple sclerosis)
    • October 3: John Zdanowiez, 50 (suffered from Lou Gehrig's disease)
    • October 8: Lois Caswell, 65 (suffered from chronic pain syndrome)
    • October 13: Annette Blackwell, 34 (suffered from multiple sclerosis)
    • October 30: John O'Hara, 54 (suffered from a stroke, gout, and kidney problems)
    • November 13: Naida Foldes, 72 (suffered from cancer)
    • November 22:
      • Naomi Sachs, 84 (suffered from osteoporosis)
      • Bernice Gross, 78 (suffered from multiple sclerosis)
    • December 3: Martha Wichorek, 82 (suffered from various ailments)
    • December 13: Rosalind Haas, 59 (suffered from breast cancer)
    • December 16:
      • Margaret Weilhart, 89 (suffered from a stroke, paralysis, and blindness)
      • Cheri Trimble, 46 (suffered from breast cancer)
    • December 27:
      • Franz-Johann Long, 53 (possibly suffered from bladder cancer)
      • Mary Langford, 73 (suffered from breast and lung cancer)
  • 1998:
    • January 8: Nancy Ruth Rush, 81 (suffered from lung cancer emphysema, and ulcers)
    • January 18: Carrie Hunter, 35 (suffered from AIDS)
    • February 3: Jeremy Allen, 52 (suffered from kidney cancer)
    • February 23: Muriel Clement, 76 (suffered from advanced Parkinson's disease)
    • February 26: Roosevelt Dawson, 21 (a quadriplegic)
    • March 5:
      • William Cannaughton, 42 (suffered from fibromyalgia)
      • Patricia Greyham, 61 (suffered from rheumatoid fibrosis)
    • March 13: Waldo Herman, 66 (suffered from lung cancer)
    • March 26: Mary Judith Kanner, 67 (suffered from Huntington's disease)
    • April 9: Shala Semonie, 47 (suffered from Lou Gehrig's disease)
    • April 13: Dixie Colleen Wilson, 64 (suffered from Lou Gehrig's disease)
    • April 17:
      • Pricilla Hiles, 73 (suffered from chronic arthritis, sciatica, degenerative disk disease, and asthma)
      • Jack Schenbern, 89 (suffered from prostate cancer)
    • April 24: Lucille Alderman, 86 (suffered from heart disease and osteoarthritis)
    • May 7: Matthew Johnson, 26 (a quadriplegic)
    • May 19: Emma Kassa, 68 (suffered from lung cancer)
    • June 7: Joseph Tushkowski, 45 (a quadriplegic)
  • Unspecified dates: 16 additional people whose names were never given by Kevorkian


  • Kevorkian's nickname of "Dr. Death" has been ascribed to several other people who worked in medicine and were involved in murder somehow. Some examples are British serial killer Harold Shipman, Nazi war criminals Josef Mengele and Aribert Heim, and Russian serial killer Maxim Petrov.

On Criminal Minds

Kevorkian was mentioned in Children of the Dark when an unsub working at an animal pound, Ervin Robles, is jokingly described by his employer as the "on-site Kevorkian" due to him usually being the one who euthanizes animals that are left in the pound.


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