Woman committed suicide with clear head, husband says Kevorkian patient took numerous medications


DETROIT -- Despite tranquilizers, painkillers and other prescription drugs in her system, Judith Curren committed suicide with a clear head, her husband and others said yesterday.

"She was competent, capable and made her own decisions," said Dr. Franklin Curren, who held his wife's hand Aug. 15 while Dr. Jack Kevorkian assisted in her death.

Lab tests on Curren's body showed she was taking tranquilizers, uppers and painkillers, the Oakland County Medical Examiner's Office said yesterday.

Also, a high dose of secobarbital, which slows the nervous system, put Curren to sleep before her death, then a potassium chloride solution was given to stop her heartbeat, said Oakland County Medical Examiner L. J. Dragovic.

The same drug was found in several people who died in Kevorkian's presence.

Dragovic termed Judith Curren's death a homicide and a case of euthanasia. It would have been impossible, he said, for Curren to have killed herself while asleep.

Kevorkian, who has been acquitted three times in five deaths, has not been charged in any of the 10 deaths since he was cleared in May of criminal wrongdoing.

One of Kevorkian's attorneys, Michael Schwartz, said the prescription drugs had no ill effect on Judith Curren's frame of mind: "This lady knew precisely what she was doing."

Psychiatrist Morris Weiss of Farmington Hills also said Judith Curren's mental faculties were not necessarily impaired.

They might have "reduced her anxiety and she might have made an even better judgment," he told the Oakland Press.

Judith Curren of Pembroke, Mass., had several medical problems, including chronic fatigue syndrome and the nerve disorder fibromyalgia -- both nonfatal diseases, doctors have said.

Reports in recent days also suggested that she was addicted to painkillers.

Pub Date: 8/30/96

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