Kevorkian Attends Woman's Suicide, Body Left in Hospital Parking Lot
Aug. 21, 1995
SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (AP) _ Dr. Jack Kevorkian attended the suicide Monday of a woman with multiple sclerosis whose body was left in the back seat of an old car outside a hospital emergency room.
``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,''' 46-year-old Esther Cohan of Skokie, Ill., had written in an Aug. 9 letter addressed ``to all.''
The suicide was at least the 25th in which Kevorkian has taken part since 1990.
Kevorkian's lawyer, Geoffrey Fieger, would say little about how Cohan died except that it was ``consistent'' with other suicides Kevorkian has attended and that it happened in Oakland County, north of Detroit.
The medical examiner's office ruled the death a homicide by carbon monoxide poisoning. In most of the previous suicides, the person inhaled carbon monoxide from a canister.
Cohan's body was left in a gray car parked outside William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, not far from where Kevorkian once lived.
At about 5:30 a.m., a security guard noticed the car parked in a space reserved for doctors near the emergency entrance but didn't see the body because the windows were fogged, hospital spokeswoman Colette Stimmell said.
Hospital staff and police eventually found the body, and Cohan was pronounced dead at 7:20 a.m.
The letter was one of two given to reporters by her sister Judy Cohan, who said she also attended the death. Kevorkian had been counseling Esther Cohan since March, Fieger said.
``The only person out there who'd help her was Dr. Kevorkian. And she is at peace,'' Judy Cohan said. ``She had problems toward the end, and she wanted to make a statement.''
Cohan, a former secretary, was unable to work after she was struck with MS, which attacks the central nervous system. Judy Cohan said her sister had become bedridden, covered with bed sores and unable to go the bathroom without help.
``As half my body has been dead for the past 14 months, I and I alone have decided to put the rest of my body at peace and my entire body out of the uncontrollable pain,'' Cohan wrote in a July 10 letter. ``I see this issue as a matter of my constitutional right to the pursuit of my life, liberty and happiness.''
The Oakland County prosecutor's office refused to comment, saying it would await the results of the police investigation.
Kevorkian, whose medical license has been revoked because of his crusade, faces possible charges in a number of deaths, including murder in some cases and assisted suicide in others.
Fieger said the location of the body was meant as a message: ``Prosecutor, get out; police, get out. Doctors at Beaumont Hospital, come on in. Step up. That's what we're saying.''
He said the body was left at the hospital in part because Kevorkian wanted to avoid the ``circuslike atmosphere'' and ``body bag shots'' that accompanied prior deaths.
The most recent Kevorkian-attended suicide before Cohan's was in June at his ``obitorium,'' a former hardware store where people could kill themselves. A 60-year-old woman with Lou Gehrig's disease inhaled carbon monoxide.
The clinic was closed by the landlords, who said they did not know what the building was going to be used for.
On May 12, the body of a 27-year-old man with Lou Gehrig's disease was left in Kevorkian's van in a driveway between the Oakland County sheriff's and coroner's offices.