Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

It's Time for Dr. Jack to Stop Free-Lancing

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

It's Time for Dr. Jack to Stop Free-Lancing

Article excerpt

I'm not exactly sure how to address this letter.

Should I address it to the "obiatrist" who once wanted to harvest the organs of death row inmates?

Or to the defendant who came to court in full Thomas Jefferson regalia spouting 18th-century sound bites of freedom?

Or to the doctor in the videotapes speaking gently to patients in pain?

Or to the man shouting in hallways about a "political lynching"?

But let's keep it simple. Here we go: Dear Dr. Jack, Congratulations . . . and please retire.

Last week, Jack Kevorkian was acquitted yet again in the assisted suicide of two more women. On the national scorecard of The People vs. Jack, it's Jack 3, People O.

By now, it's crystal clear that no Michigan jury will find this pathologist guilty of assisting suicide unless he is videotaped handing a pistol to a depressed teen-ager. Juries have repeatedly seen more "mercy" than "killer" in his actions.

Indeed, the folks who delivered last week's verdict acted more like groupies than jurors. After declaring him innocent, they asked for Dr. Jack's autograph, took pictures with him and invited him out to dinner.

In short, Kevorkian is conviction-proof. The only one who doesn't seem to know that is the Oakland County prosecutor, but he may just have a death wish. A political death wish.

In the six years since the pathologist first drove his suicide-mobile into the news, I have written about the man a dozen times. But it all came down to one phrase: "Right cause, wrong guy."

Kevorkian is a maverick, that word we use to describe both an unbridled independent and an absolute loose cannon.

As an independent, Dr. Jack singlehandedly forced the question of doctor-assisted suicide out of the shadows and onto the front pages. He made us all confront the reality of patients who are, in essence, abandoned by traditional medicine at the difficult end of their lives.

Without Kevorkian, we would be nowhere nearly as far along in the debate about whether and when terminally ill patients can lawfully be put out of their misery.

But as a loose cannon, Kevorkian has also been a polarizing figure free-lancing in death. …

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