by Jane St. Clair
Author of Walk Me to Midnight
Board member, Hospice Patient Alliance
Recently Al Pacino played Jack Kevorkian in a HBO movie called “You Don’t Know Jack.” Kevorkian was also the subject of an HBO documentary called simply “Kevorkian” which aired June 28, 2010.The ladies of “The View” talked about this movie and they viewed things in an emotional way.
Whoopi Goldberg described Jack Kevorkian as a “doctor who had invented a machine to help terminally ill people voluntarily end their lives painlessly.”
“It’s a very lonely thing to take your own life. You need help with that. When you’re very ill, and you’re in pain, and the life quality is horrifying, you need help with that,” said Joy Behar.
“War” a painting by Kevorkian
Barbara Walters talked as if Kevorkian had been hounded by the law unfairly and was heroic in his efforts to stand up for what is right.”They took his medical license away,” she said. “They prosecuted him three times. They finally found him guilty and he served seven years in prison. I interviewed him four times. He was interesting and rather weird. He fully believed people should have this right. He didn’t have to go to jail. He could have copped a plea.”
Then we were treated to a clip from the HBO movie in which Kevorkian explains how he turned away 90% of the people who want his help, and how he demands a second and third opinion before he “helps” them die.
WHOOPI GOLDBERG GOT IT WRONG.
Kervorkian did not help terminally ill people end their lives voluntarily and painlessly. He took over the job of killing himself, which is why he got convicted of homicide.
Jack Kevorkian claims to have killed 130 people. According to the New York Times, “At least half of the people whom Dr. Kevorkian helped to die were not terminally ill. And a number of those driven to seek his help probably could have had their suffering eased.” (”Depressed? Don’t Go See Kevorkian,” The New York Times, September 16, 1995).
The vast majority of Kevorkian’s victims were women. Some were in their 30’s and 40’s, not terminally ill but suffering from multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, spinal cord disorders, and so forth. Many were not in chronic pain. They were often lonely, isolated depressed women who could have benefited from counseling and anti-depressants.
Kevorkian killed two people by his own hand with lethal injections. When he did this on national television, even the Michigan courts had enough. (”60 Minutes,” November 22, 1998). It was not an assisted suicide because the patient did not administer poison or gas to himself, although he gave permission. Under the law, it was a homicide.
“Nearer my god to thee” painted by Kevorkian
THE HBO MOVIE GOT IT WRONG.
Kevorkian never got “second” and “third” opinions about his victims. He did not have his victims seek out psychological counseling before they died.
Some families of his victims complained about this to authorities and to the fact that Kevorkian never consulted them before “assisting” their loved ones. In any video of any “suicide,” you can see for yourself that Kevorkian is cold and offers no emotional support to anyone. He is nothing like the warm person Pacino portrays.
Psychologists did not determine if Kevorkian’s victims were competent to make the decisions to end their lives. One woman had been in a psychiatric hospital twice in the year before Kevorkian killed her (”Suicide’s Partner,” The Los Angeles Times, December 6, 1992).
The doctor of Kevorkian’s first patient, Janet Adkins, testified: “I felt Kevorkian’s plan was totally inappropriate, and that, in my opinion, Mrs. Adkins could expect several more years during which she would be able to maintain self care and enjoy the types of experiences (spending time with her grandchildren, outdoor activities, etc.), she was currently enjoying.” (Inventor of Suicide Machine Arrested on Murder Charge, The New York Times, December 4, 1990.)
BARBARA WALTERS GOT IT WRONG.
Barbara Walters said Kevorkian was “rather weird.”
This man “chopped out” the kidneys of 45-year-old Joseph Tushkowski, according to Oakland County (MI) Medical Examiner L.J. Dragovic, after he died of poison from an intravenous injection. The death was ruled a homicide. Kevorkian took out this man’s kidneys even though he knew there was no chance that they would be assigned to a living donor. [UPI, 6/8/98]
As a medical student, Kevorkian wanted to be around death as much as possible, and liked to take pictures of dying people’s eyes. He used cadaver blood in his paintings. Go look at his paintings at this PBS website: www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/kevorkian/aboutk/art/.
The ladies of “The View” present themselves as caring individuals. They reach millions of people every day. It’s time they stood up for the most helpless among us, or at least made sure they get their facts straight about Jack Kevorkian.