60 Minutes Follows Up Euthanasia Episode

DETROIT -- Relatives of a man whose euthanasia at the hands of Jack Kevorkian was aired on ``60 Minutes'' last fall said they were upset with the show's follow-upsegment, which focused on sick people who oppose assisted suicide.

The CBS newsmagazine show has come under fire from all sides. Many pro-life viewers spoke out against the November segment, which aired a video of Kevorkian giving a lethal injection to Thomas Youk, a Detroit-area man with Lou Gehrig's disease.

Now some are questioning the timing of the Sunday night segment, which came less than a week after "60 Minutes" correspondent Mike Wallace said at a symposium that he had second thoughts about airing the euthanasia.

During Sunday's story, one patient in a Connecticut hospice responded affirmatively when asked by Wallace whether she thought Youk had "simply wimped out."

"I was just very upset in the way they handled the whole segment of the program," Youk's brother, Robert, said in today's editions of the Detroit Free Press. "I thought they were going to show both sides, not just completely slanted to the other side from what Dr. Kevorkian was trying to do.

A man who suffers from the disease said the shows simply laid out both points of view. However, Edgar Sullivan, 55, of St. Clair Shores, said the Kevorkian tape bothered him and that he opposes assisted suicide for himself.

"There are a lot of mood swings, ups and downs, and it gets to the point where you might feel bad all the time. Every patient is different," Sullivan said.

"60 Minutes" executive producer Don Hewitt said the follow-up story was simply a good idea suggested to them by a viewer and is not a sign that the show is backing off the Kevorkian segment. It also doesn't indicate that producers are particularly swayed by public pressure, he said.

The tape of Youk's injection death has been the main piece of evidence used to charge Kevorkian with first-degree murder, assisted suicide and illegal use of a controlled substance in Youk's death. His trial is scheduled to begin March 22.

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