STUDY: 75% OF KEVORKIAN "PATIENTS" WERE NOT TERMINALLY ILL

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STUDY: 75% OF KEVORKIAN "PATIENTS" WERE NOT TERMINALLY ILL

BOSTON, Massachusetts, DEC. 7, 2000 (ZENIT.org).-

An analysis of 69 assisted suicides supervised by Jack Kevorkian has concluded that 75% 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, Reuters reported.

The study´s findings were reported in a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine and were made available Wednesday. The journal, published today, said a team led by Lori A. Roscoe of the University of South Florida at Tampa looked at the characteristics of people who died with Kevorkian´s assistance in Oakland County, Michigan, between 1990 and 1998.

Kevorkian, who helped more than 100 people commit suicide, is serving a prison sentence of 10 to 25 years in Michigan. He was convicted of second-degree murder in April 1999 in a trial that followed an appearance on national television in which he administered a lethal injection to Thomas Youk, a 52-year-old man suffering from Lou Gehrig´s disease, and dared the
criminal justice system to stop him.

The study´s findings seemed to suggest divorcees or people who had never married were more likely to turn to assisted suicide in the absence of safeguards. Roscoe and her colleagues said "persons who were divorced or had never married were overrepresented among those who died with Kevorkian´s help, suggesting the need for a better understanding of the familial and psychosocial context of decision making at the end of life."

Kevorkian´s attorney, Mayer Morganroth, dismissed the study. "All they´re doing is repeating allegations made by the pro-life people," he told Reuters. "They´re not really of any real substance, and they´re not really accurate or true."
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