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University of Michigan

Kevorkian archive opens as physician-assisted deaths rise

Just days before she died with Dr. Jack Kevorkian's assistance, Merian Frederick could not speak or hold up her head without help from her daughter, Carol Poenisch.

On a video recorded by Kevorkian in 1993, Poenisch steadies Frederick's Lou Gehrig's disease-ravaged body as she signs a form requesting help to die "in the most humane, rapid and painless manner" possible. Then, Poenisch reads words just penned by her mother that convey her final, fervent, wish: "My tears should not be taken as an indication that I am in doubt."

The videotaped interview, clinically labeled "Medicide: File 8," is one of many in a new archive at Kevorkian's alma...