Death - The somber nickname given to Dr.
Jack Kevorkian, a physician who took the limelight in 1990-91
when he advocated helping people to die. Kevorkian called himself an "obitiatrist,"
preferring to be known as someone who engaged in "medicide."
Death, he provided the "means, expertise, counseling and
assuredness" to leave this world in peace. Critics however
called him a "serial mercy killer."
Kervorkian made the rounds on the talk
show and news magazine circuit defending his position, even
appearing as a guest on ABC NEWS NIGHTLINE hosted by Ted Koppel.
Dr. Death's suicide list included an Alzheimer patient whom he
helped die in June of 1990; and two Michigan women, a former
elementary school teacher who had suffered from a painful
genital disorder and a former housewife with Multiple Sclerosis
both whom died in a double doctor-assisted suicide on October
Dr. Death wasn't in this for the money, however. He
provided his suicide machine at no cost. The machine consisted
of three bags of solutions that dripped into an intravenous line
attached to the body of the person to die.
In the case of a
person whose veins were too weak to take an intravenous needle,
Dr. Death had a back-up system-a face mask attached to a
canister of carbon monoxide.
On November 22, 1998 CBS 60 MINUTES
news magazine broadcast Dr, Kevorkian actually administering
death to a patient. The following week he was accused of 1st
degree premeditated murder by the State of Michigan and later
found guilty of second degree murder in March of 1999.
Dr. Kervorkian's videotape of the injection death of Lou Gehrig's
disease patient, Thomas Youk, prompted his arrest. Michigan
Judge Jessica Cooper sentenced Kevorkian to 10 to 25 years in
prison but not She rebuked his behavior saying "You had the
audacity to go on national television, show the world what you
did and dare the legal system to stop you. Well, sir, consider
TRIVIA NOTE: In 1991, The Hemlock Society published their
controversial suicide manual entitled Final Exit. The 5/9/95
broadcast of THE LATE SHOW with David Letterman featured the top
ten Dr. Kevorkian Pick Up lines:
No.10 "Some Call me Dr. Death,
but you can call me Dr. Love";
No.5 "If you ever want out of the relationship...that can be
No.1 "Can I buy you a
On the 12/9/98 installment of THE TONIGHT SHOW,
host Jay Leno mentioned Dr. Kevorkian's Christmas TV special
entitled "Not a Creature Was Stirring."
On the sitcom LEARNING
THE ROPES/SYN/1988-89, professional wrestler Steve "Dr. Death"
Williams doubled as a wrestler known as "The Masked Maniac."
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