By KORIE WILKINS
Of The Daily Oakland Press
JACKSON – Assisted suicide advocate Jack Kevorkian is expected to undergo surgery today to repair a bilateral hernia, his lawyer said.
Mayer Morganroth said Kevorkian, 76, was taken to a hospital in Jackson for treatment Thursday.
“It’s very painful,” Morganroth said. “But it, by itself, should not be life-threatening. I think he’ll be OK. These types of things get harder as he gets older, though.”
Kevorkian’s health is failing, Morganroth said, and he doesn’t expect his client to live more than a year. Kevorkian has suffered from high blood pressure, hepatitis C, a circulation condition and dental problems in prison.
Leo LaLonde, spokesman for the Michigan Department of Corrections, said there is a secure unit at the hospital for prisoners. Kevorkian will be under constant guard while there and will likely be sent back to prison shortly after the surgery to recover in the Thumb Correctional Facility’s clinic.
The state will pay for the treatment, LaLonde said, but can seek reimbursement from prisoners who have assets. LaLonde would not comment on how much the surgery will cost or about Kevorkian’s medical condition, citing federal privacy rules.
Morganroth said Kevorkian has been trying to get Gov. Jennifer Granholm to pardon him or commute his sentence based on his medical condition, but that request has been denied. Granholm has granted four medical commutations since taking office.
The Michigan Parole Board recently denied Kevorkian’s request for parole. He is eligible again in November, Morganroth said.
Kevorkian is serving a 10- to 25-year prison term for second-degree murder in the 1998 death of a Waterford Township man, 52-year-old Thomas Youk.
Kevorkian videotaped the death of Youk, who had Lou Gehrig’s disease. The CBS news show 60 Minutes broadcast the euthanasia and Oakland County prosecutors charged Kevorkian. Kevorkian has claimed to have assisted in more than 130 suicides.