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People v. Kevorkian

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Bloomberg Law

Citation. 248 Mich. App. 373, 639 N.W.2d 291, 2001 Mich. App. 225.

Brief Fact Summary. The Defendant, Dr. Jack Kevorkian (Defendant), administered a lethal drug to Thomas Youk (Youk) in a “mercy killing” because Youk had been diagnosed with a fatal disease.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. Euthanasia is not legal and therefore not a defense to murder.


Facts. Youk had been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. On the first videotape that the Defendant made, Youk described his condition, stating that he was confined to a wheelchair, could not move his legs or left arm, had minimal use of his right arm, was fed through a tube, and used a machine to help him breathe. Youk then signed a consent form indicating his wish to have a direct lethal injection rather than use a machine himself. On the second videotape, the Defendant administered the lethal injection, and Youk died. The Defendant then gave a 60 Minutes interview with Mike Wallace, in which he urged the authorities to charge him with murder in an attempt to get euthanasia before the courts.

Issue. Is euthanasia legal?

Content Type: Brief


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