In 1989 after reading about patient who had asked for euthanasia, a man by the name Jack Kevorkian— aka Dr. Death— began working on a lethal injection machine that would be able to do the task at the ‘flip of a switch’.
It was called the Thanatron. Kevorkian became interested in alleviating suffering in patients when he had completed an internship in Pathology at Henry Ford hospital in Detroit and saw a woman who was dying from cancer. On June 4, 1990, Dr.Death performed the first of his ‘medicides’ as he liked to call physician assisted suicide. His ‘client’ was a 54 year old woman that suffered from Alzheimer’s.
This woman, whose name is not known, contacted Dr. Death herself after reading his ad in the newspaper. The procedure took place in the back of Dr. Death’s VW van. The woman received sodium pentothal (an anesthetic) and potassium chloride (to stop the heart). This ‘medicide’ was only one of one hundred.
He continued to do his ‘medicides’ by giving his ‘clients’ carbon monoxide. One of the ‘clients’ autopsy discovered that the ‘client’ did not have any major pathology. Another patient had asked for her mask to be removed, this might have been a change of mind. Kevorkian, yet, continued his task. By the third ‘medicide’, Kevorkian’s medical license was revoked for violating Michigan State laws regarding euthanasia. On August 17, 1993, Kevorkian is formally charged with violating the law.
By this time he had already assisted twenty ‘clients’ to their “peaceful deaths”. On November 1993, Kevorkian was jailed for the first time and a second time on December 1993. Dr. Death was charged with second degree murder by 1988. He was finally sentenced by a Michigan jury to ten to twenty-five years for his crime in 1999.