Kevorkian Patient Hailed from North Suburb
Assisted by Dr. Kevorkian, Esther Cohan of Skokie died at age 46.
Dr. Jack Kevorkian died Friday, leaving behind an uncertain legacy. Known by some as "Dr. Death," the controversial pathologist helped about 130 people end their lives between 1990-1998.
Skokie resident Esther Cohan, 46, was attended by Kevorkian in 1995 and became the 25th person he helped die. She was one of four Illinois residents whose suicides were linked to Kevorkian.
Cohan had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and suffered from debilitating bed sores.
"As things went from bad to worse and I was nothing more than a bed veg, I knew it was time to say, `See ya,' " Cohan wrote in a handwritten letter addressed "to all."
The letter was given to the media by her sister Judy Cohan, who said she was present at her sister's death with Kevorkian in Michigan.
Dr. Kevorkian, known for his right-to-die beliefs, counseled Cohan in the months leading up to her death, as the Chicago Tribune reported in August 1995.
One month later, The New York Times ran an opinion piece that suggested Cohan's illness was not terminal.
That same year, the American Medical Association called him "a reckless instrument of death" and said he posed "a great threat to the public."
Convicted of second degree murder in 1999, Kevorkian served eight years of a 10-to-25-year sentence. He was paroled in 2007 on the condition that he would no longer offer suicide advice.
After he was released, Kevorkian remained politically active and even ran for Congress in Michigan. In 2010, he was portrayed by Al Pacino in the HBO biopic "You Don't Know Jack." Pacino won both an Emmy and Golden Globe for the performance.
Kevorkian patients from the state of Illinois, according to this Patch list:
- Ali Khalili, of Oak Brook, 1993
- Esther Cohan, of Skokie, 1995
- Nancy DeSoto, of Bourbonnais, 1996
- John Zdanowicz, of Berwyn, 1997