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Jack Kevorkian Essay

1750 words - 7 pages

After talks with her husband, sons, minister, and local doctors; Janet Adkins decided she didn¹t want to undergo the sustained mental deterioration that Alzheimer¹s Disease caused (Uhlman 111). She began to realize she had the disease when she started forgetting songs and failed to recognize notes as she played the piano (Filene 188). ³She read in Newsweek about Dr. Jack Kevorkian and his ŒMercitron¹ machine, then saw him on the ŒDonahue¹ Television show² (Filene 188). With her husband¹s consent but objections by sons and doctors, she telephoned him to arrange to kill herself (Filene 188). She still had a life expectancy of at least ten years with the illness, but she wished to die. She wanted to die before the disease robbed her of her competence (Larson 229). Kevorkian later killed Adkins and faced the consequences boldly (Hendin, ³Suicide in America² 247). The background, process, and effects of Dr. Kevorkian¹s questionable first patient, Janet Adkins, have a very detailed story in them.Janet Adkins led a very productive life up to and even after she had been diagnosed with Alzheimer¹s, but she couldn¹t handle losing control of her brain (Filene 188). She was 54 years old and lived in a wealthy Oregon suburb with her stock broker husband, Ron. She was also the mother of three sons, taught English and piano, went hang gliding, trekked in Nepal, climbed Mount Hood, and generally behaved with a lot of energy (Gutmann 20). She and her husband were longtime Hemlock society members, which advocates Euthanasia in some cases (Betzold 22). ³Doctors at a Portland hospital told her that eventually she would be dependent on her husband for feeding and bathing² (Gutmann 21). She did not want to take her own life in case she messed it up, and her own doctors wouldn¹t help her (Hendin , ³Seduced by Death² 132). Though she was still able to carry on clear conversations and demolish her son at tennis; her husband explained that if she was going to go, she¹d probably want to go to soon rather than to late (Gutmann 21). After hearing about Kevorkian, Ron Adkins contacted him to employ his services (Wolfson 56). Her husband complained to Dr. Kevorkian that he had to remind her of the times of her tennis lessons, and that she kept leaving her purse in the house. After the brief conversation, Kevorkian agreed to meet with her (Gutmann 20). ³Dr. Kevorkian was a retired pathologist in Michigan with a passionate commitment to promoting assisted suicide and the use of his Œsuicide machine¹² (Hendin, ³Seduced by Death² 130). He had an abiding interest in helping people die painlessly. He was the perfect person to carry out Janet¹s wishes (Larson 229).Dr. Kevorkian and Janet Adkins then met to discuss their intentions and eventually carry out the suicide (Hendin, ³Seduced by Death² 134). Kevorkian and his two sisters, Margo...

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