by Steven Ertelt
July 30, 2006
Coldwater, MI (LifeNews.com) — Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm ordered state officials to carry out a medical examination on jailed assisted suicide crusader Jack Kevorkian. The exam comes after the Michigan Parole Board recently turned down another request to commute his sentence.
While Kevorkian and his attorney claim he has less than six months to live, the board said an independent doctor couldn’t certify that.
Wanting a second opinion, Granholm wants to confirm whether the former pathologist is near death or not.
"The governor is not in the business of second-guessing our courts, but she has commuted sentences of prisoners with life-threatening conditions," Granholm spokeswoman Liz Boyd told the Associated Press.
Boyd indicated the examination had been conducted but the results had not yet been released. She indicated that Granholm had commuted the sentences of seven prisoners who were terminally ill at the time.
Corrections Department spokesman Russ Marlan indicated prisoners can only be granted a medical release if doctors determine they have less than a year to live. A parole board health review determined that wasn’t the case but Marlan did not release more details on it.
The 78 year-old Kevorkian suffers from hepatitis C, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
Kevorkian was sentenced in 1999 to a 10- to 25-year sentence after showing a videotape of him euthanizing Thomas Youk, who was in the latter stages of Lou Gehrig’s disease. He has served seven years of the sentence.
He is not officially eligible for parole until 2007.
Assisted suicide is not legal in Michigan and Kevorkian would not be able to avail himself of the method of death he used to kill the more than 150 people he claims to have aided in ending their lives.
He said in a recent interview he has second thoughts about the more than 150 people he claimed to have killed through assisted suicide. He now says he should have lobbied to legalized the practice instead.
Kevorkian told the Los Angeles Times in an interview he should have "worked for a change in the law instead" of using assisted suicide to kill patients.
In a previous interview with MSNBC, Kevorkian said he would not break the law but would lobby to legalize assisted suicide throughout the country.
"I have not changed my views on assisted suicide, but I believe it should be performed legally, and I would do whatever my health permits regarding petitions, speeches, lobbying and writing in support of legalization," he told the Times.
Kevorkian said his spirits are in "fair" condition and that he suffers from depression. He indicated he no longer has the strength to read and write and spends most of his time on his prison bed.
Michigan authors and Kevorkian friends Neal Nicol and Harry Wylie say they have been helping Kevorkian to prepare a 300-page manuscript, tentatively titled "The Life of Dr. Death." Kevorkian has been shopping it around to publishers.
Oscar-winning director Barbara Kopple and producer Steve Jones plan to begin filming a movie version in Michigan later this year.
Jones says Oscar winner Ben Kingsley would head the short list of people he would like to play the imprisoned coroner. Kingsley is a three time Oscar nominee who won the award for best actor in 1982 for his role in the film Gandhi.