Most Kevorkian Patients Weren't Terminal

ByABC News
December 6, 2000, 7:30 PM

B O S T O N, Dec. 6 -- An analysis of 69 assisted suicides supervised by Dr. Jack Kevorkian has concluded that 75 percent of his patients were not terminally ill when he helped them to die, and that autopsies could not confirm any physical disease in five of the cases.

The studys findings were reported in a letter to the NewEngland Journal of Medicine and were made available today.

The journal, which will be published on Thursday, said ateam led by Lori A. Roscoe of the University of South Floridaat Tampa looked at the characteristics of people who died withKevorkians assistance in Oakland County, Mich., between 1990and 1998.

Kevorkian, who helped more than 100 people commit suicide,is serving a prison sentence of 10 to 25 years in Michigan. Hewas convicted of second degree murder in April 1999 in a trialthat followed an appearance on national television in which headministered a lethal injection to Thomas Youk, a 52-year-oldman suffering from Lou Gehrigs disease, and dared the criminaljustice system to stop him.

Kevorkians attorney, Mayer Morganroth, dismissed thestudy.

All theyre doing is repeating allegations made by thepro-life people, he told Reuters. Theyre not really of anyreal substance, and theyre not really accurate or true.

Kevorkian Attorney Dismissed Study

He also attacked the authors, pointing out that Roscoe andanother person involved were not medical doctors, and that athird person involved, Oakland County medical examiner L.J.Dragovic, had testified numerous times against Kevorkian andthe two men were bitter enemies.

Anything [Dragovic] says has to be discounted, Morganrothsaid.

Morganroth questioned how the team was able to study 69deaths when few of the people Kevorkian has helped have beenidentified.

I dont know how they got 69 [people] because it just sohappens they dont know who most of them are, he said. Thatalready destroys their credibility because I dont thinkanybody has the names of more than 15.