The Kevorkian Papers

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Biography

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JK_Family_at_350Physician. Born Murad Kevorkian on May 26, 1928, in Pontiac, Michigan, the second of three children born to Armenian immigrants Levon and Satenig Kevorkian. Kevorkian's parents were refugees who escaped the Armemian massacres that occurred shortly after World War I. Levon was smuggled out of Turkey by missionaries in 1912 and made his way to Pontiac, Michigan, where he found work at an automobile foundry. Satenig fled the Armenian death march, finding refuge with relatives in Paris, and eventually reuniting with her brother in Pontiac. Levon and Satenig met through the Armenian community in their city, where they married and began their family. The couple welcomed a daughter, Margaret, in 1926, followed by son Murad—who later earned the nickname "Jack" by American friends and teachers—and, finally, third child Flora.

Books

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Throughout his career Jack Kevorkian, M.D. has written many powerful books. Here is a list of his books that are available as either a free download through this website or for purchase online.

book_our_cornucopia_of__rightsAmendment IX, A Cornucopia of Rights A riveting book illuminating the ignored power inherent of Amendment IX of the Bill of Rights by Dr. Jack Kevorkian. 75 pages. Amendment IX: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. Free download.

Between_the_Dying_and_the_Dead_CoverBetween the Dying and the Dead: Dr. Jack Kevorkian's Life and the Battle to Legalize Euthanasia [Hardcover] Dr. Jack Kevorkian—the enigmatic and intrepid physician dubbed "Dr. Death"—has for years declined public interviews about his life and the events that led him to be a vehement advocate of doctor-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients. But here, finally, is his own life story, as told to Neal Nicol and Harry Wylie.

Dr. Kevorkian gained international notoriety in the 1990s for his passionate advocacy of choice for terminal patients, who have increasingly won the right to decide the time, place, and method of their own death in several western countries. In 1998, he assisted Thomas Youk, a terminally ill patient suffering from Lou Gehrig's disease, with a lethal injection that was broadcast on CBS's 60 Minutes. Immediately thereafter, Kevorkian was arrested, charged with second-degree murder, tried, and sentenced to 10-25 years in Michigan's maximum-security prison system.

Today, Dr. Kevorkian is in his late seventies and in failing health himself. He shares an eight-by-twelve-foot cell with another inmate in the Thumb Correctional Facility at Lapeer, Michigan. The unique story Prisoner Number 284797 shares far exceeds the battle to legalize euthanasia and end human suffering for terminal patients. "Personal choice is really what it is all about. Quality of life, as opposed to maintaining existence."

Letters

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Throughout his career Jack has touched many lives. Jack has received thousands of letters from patients and doctors alike who each have been moved and inspired by him.  In this section of the website we are sharing hundreds of these letters so that their voices may be heard and felt. When you click "read more" it opens an embedded "pdf" document. Here you can scroll through the letters at your convenience by using the scrollbar to the right of the pdf viewer. At the top of the window there is a menu that offers saving the file to your computer as well as "zoom" controls to assist with viewing.

Music

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BachWhatever else they say about me – and believe me they've said, and called me, just about everything – they usually don't call me a musician. Not that I claim to be one. But I do love music, and in recent years I have found that attempting to compose my own music has been both curiously satisfying and one of the most intellectually challenging things I have ever done.

May I add, also, one of the most humbling. Once during an interview, the journalist Jack Lessenberry asked me who I thought had possessed the greatest mind in recorded human history. I think he expected me to answer Einstein, or Newton, or Aristotle or Vesalius. But I didn't hesitate; for me, the only answer was Johann Sebastian Bach. Later when he asked me what historical event I would most have liked to have witnessed, I replied that I would have liked to have sat motionless on a bench and watched Bach composing on of his concertos, which come closer than most of the frail works of man to deserving the term immortal.

Paintings

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"The value that painting displays is determined in manifold ways; though for some it's pure pleasure, I think the real measure is wisdom in thought is conveys. The subjects of art should be more than the aspects of life we adore; because dark sides abound, surreal paintings profound may help change a few things we abhor." Jack Kevorkian, M.D.