Dr. Jack Kevorkian assisted patients with suicide using a euthanasia device he invented named the “Thanatron”, named after the word “Thanatology” meaning “The study of death”. Another device Dr. Kevorkian used was the “Mercitron” (mercy machine), invented by Thomas Youk, a patient of Dr. Kevorkian’s. The way the Thanatron machine works is three canisters are mounted to the device in which one is full of a saline solution, another is full of a barbiturate called sodium thiopental, and the last canister is full of a combination of potassium chloride, which stops the heart and pancuronium bromide, a muscle relaxer that prevents spasms during the dying process. An assistant will begin the saline solution flow, and then the patient will deliver the barbiturates by way of a switch, button, or pulling a string. And last, some kind of trigger or timer will deliver the lethal dose of the last canister. Death is painless and occurs within 2 minutes. The Mercitron is a basic device containing a canister of carbon monoxide attached to a face mask with a tube. A valve or an improvised handle, depending on the patient’s disability, is released or turned to allow the flow of the gas. This method took about 10 minutes and patients were encouraged to take sedatives before, to calm and relax them. Jack Kevorkian had no regrets about assisting his patients; he just wished he would have done it earlier in his life so he wouldn’t have spent the last few years of his life in prison. Dr. Kevorkian had no intentions of ever assisting patients again with suicide though because in his words, it wasn’t worth “suffering” in prison. He felt it was a waste of his time because no other doctors were brave enough to stand with him in his beliefs.
Please join StudyMode to read the full document