June 6, 2011
Dr. Jack Kevorkian, a well known controversial figure in the arena of assisted suicide, passed away on June 3, 2011 at the age of 83 in Michigan. Some viewed Dr. Kevorkian, nick-named “Dr. Death”, as a menace to society; and others viewed him as an angel of mercy liberating the terminally ill from excruciating pain and offering them an option of dying with dignity. Dr. Kevorkian’s life work spawned many ethical debates in both the medical and legal communities. His campaign to assist the terminally ill to end their lives, led to many cases and prosecutions. (Try, TI(JACK /3 KEVORKIAN) in ALLCASES on Westlaw).
In 1997 Oregon was the first state and remains perhaps the only state which allows for physician assisted suicide of the terminally ill. For a state by state analysis of the right to die issues, try the SURVEYS database in Westlaw with the following search: EUTHANASIA RIGHT-TO-DIE ASSISTED-SUICIDE MERCY-KILLING. The Surveys database contains a variety of topical surveys providing references to applicable state laws. Tables in PDF format, where provided, include important subtopics and related statutory provisions. Tables in PDF format, where provided, include summaries and legal analysis for important subtopics with related statutory provisions.