A Philosophical Obituary: Dr. Jack Kevorkian Dead at 83 Leaving End of Life Debate in the US Forever Changed

American Journal of Bioethics 11 (7):3 - 6 (2011)
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The nationally-famous advocate of physician-assisted suicide did not die by his own hand. Dr. Jack Kevorkian died the old-fashioned way in America: in a hospital, with multiple disorders undercutting his life. Kevorkian took up interest in assisted suicide early in his medical career, and he wanted prisoners on death row to volunteer for experiments just before their execution. Kevorkian saw individual consent as the wheel, axle, and grease for all decisions in these matters. He helped many people die, but it is unclear what moral principle guided his decisions to say yes and no to requests for help in dying. His spree in helping people die came to an end, when he himself injected a man with a lethal substance. Because of his single-minded focus on the value of assisted suicide and experimentation before execution, he had little impact on the broader ethical analysis of assisted-suicide and the rights of prisoners. He leaves little legacy in ethics for the analysis of assisted-suicide or in vivo experimentation.



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