By Les Gold
Dr Jack Kevorkian, also known as “Dr. Death”, is certainly one of the most intriguing and unusual Detroiters in recent history. He’s best known for his claim to have helped over a hundred terminally ill patients commit suicide. After graduating from University of Michigan Medical School, he became interested in blood transfusions and death. He came up with some pretty controversial and outrageous ideas including using prisoners for medical research and transfusing blood from corpses. He was never really successfully finding work as a practicing physician but he certainly gained notoriety after taking out ads in the Detroit News as a “death consultant”.
Having been a pawn broker for all these years, I’ve seen countless items owned by well known people, including cars. What was particularly fascinating about this van is that it was not only the mode of transport owned by this notorious guy, but it also played such a key role in his controversial work. According to his lawyer, well-known Detroit attorney Geoffrey Feiger, each of the individuals that Dr. Kevorkian worked with took the final action which resulted in their own deaths, using a euthanasia device that he had designed and built and installed in the van that is now a part of American Jewelry and Loan’s collection.
If you saw the show, you know that the final purchase price came down to a $20,000 coin flip. It was high stakes to be sure and I think my kids were pretty nervous. But I wasn’t nervous for a second. Although the chances of a coin toss are 50/50, this is still my house. And the house always has the advantage.”
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