Dr. Kevorkian’s First “Customer” – June 4, 1990
One of the most infamous characters to come from Michigan is Dr. Jack Kevorkian.
Known for his legendary “suicide machines”, the doctor reportedly assisted in the willing deaths of 130 people with terminal conditions. The first being a school teacher/musician from Portland, Oregon.
It was in 1987 when he began taking out ads for his “death counseling” sessions...but it wasn't through the ads where he got his first customer. It was from “The Phil Donahue Show”.
According to Oregon Live, Janet Adkins, a 54-year-old diagnosed with Alzheimer's, saw the show from her home in Portland, Oregon. She made the decision to travel to Michigan and end her own life. It was on June 4, 1990, that Janet became the first person to succumb to Kevorkian's machine – a device that administered saline, and sodium thiopental to induce a coma, then potassium chloride to stop the heart. Kevorkian merely attached the device – the 'patient' would then press the button that brought the finish.
Janet's final-hour location was not the most ideal location. It took place in the back seat of a 1968 Volkswagen van, parked in one of Michigan's campgrounds.
Charged with murder, Kevorkian was taken to court. The charge was dropped the following December, but he was subsequently banned from practicing medicine or treating patients. Since then, 34 states have made assisted suicide a criminal offense.
Did Kevorkian administer his own death?
Suffering from kidney failure and pneumonia, 83-year-old Kevorkian passed away in Royal Oak, 2011, due to a clotted artery. He is buried in Troy.
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