Now it’s HBO Unplugged

'Dr. Death' warmed over cabler's new docu

A week before Halloween, Dr. Death speaks out!

In connection with HBO’s airing next month of the docu “Calling Dr. Kevorkian: A Date With Dr. Death,” the usually press-shy physician and his attorney Geoffrey Fieger sat down Wednesday afternoon with about 20 reporters nationwide for a satellite-and-phone press conference.

Asked if he’s bothered by his nickname, Kevorkian cheerfully offered, “It doesn’t mean anything to me. Friends have called me Dr. Death jokingly for a long time.”

Speaking from the attorney’s Michigan office, the two denied that they hope the docu will help get the word out on physician-assisted suicides. “I’m not on a mission,” Kevorkian said. “I’m not interested at all in publicity. I didn’t even know this (press conference) was going on until a few days ago.”

Fieger added that the public is “overwhelmingly in favor” of the doctor’s work; “the print media is more vicious” than electronic media, but “as the press is becoming more virulent, public support is skyrocketing.”

Fieger said HBO approached him for a film to be part of “America Undercover.” Though he and Kevorkian had shunned offers of books and telepics, Fieger said he was impressed by past work of producers Joanna Had and Gianfranco Norelli, and he trusts HBO: “I like Ted Turner, I think he’s a free thinker.”

Fieger declined to give exact numbers of Dr. K’s assisted suicides, only saying it’s more than 70, and less than 100, and he’s counseled hundreds of others. He said this has been going on for seven years now — “that’s three years longer than World War II” — and “he has never made a dime off what he does, and never sought to make a profit.”

The pair denied reports that hotels, which are often the site of these deaths, are taken by surprise at the events that go on in their rooms. Dr. K. assured, “We don’t leave the person’s body there to be discovered by the hotel personnel!” However, Fieger added that one magazine had approached them to rate the hotels, “like Conde Nast Traveller.”

Fieger said they will soon announce that organs of Kevorkian’s patients will be available for transplants. So Dr. Death’s job will have two benefits: end suffering and donate organs to those in need. Fieger said kidneys and livers will be available “on a first-come, first-serve basis.”

At the end of the hour interview, a Texas reporter queried the doctor why he met with the press accompanied by his lawyer. “Why do you care?” Fieger asked.

“Because you’ve monopolized a lot of the conversation.”

“Tough,” he shrugged.

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