Assisted Suicide Case Dismissed | Monroe Township - Middlesex County
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Assisted Suicide Case Dismissed

March 19, 2014

Filed under: Current Events,Elder Law,Lawsuits — Neel Shah @ 10:00 am

A judge in Pennsylvania has thrown out a case of assisted suicide lodged against a nurse who was charged with murder last year for allegedly giving her father a bottle of morphine pills.

Pick Your Painkiller

(Photo credit: sfxeric)

The decision is the latest in a series of developments signaling that courts and states are not interested in criminalizing care that may hasten death, according to a report on NPR.org.

In this case, Barbara Mancini, 58, a nurse, was charged with assisting in the suicide of her 93-year-old father in Feb., 2013.

The father, Joseph Yourshaw, was in home hospice in failing health. A hospice nurse checked on him and found him unconscious. The hospice had him taken to the hospital by ambulance against the wishes of the family. He was revived, but died a few days later.

In a scathing 47-page opinion, the judge wrote that the state did not establish that Mancini had committed a crime — that she tried to help him commit suicide rather than ease his pain.

She said the charges were based on speculation. Mancini said she only wanted to help ease his pain but a hospice nurse and a police officer said she told them she wanted to help end his life. He had previously told hospice workers and family that he wanted to die.

The judge said there was no evidence Mancini fed him the pills and noted that the man was capable of opening the bottle and taking the pills on his own. It was ruled he died of a morphine overdose.

“This case demonstrates that the government has no business interfering in families’ end-of-life decisions,” Mickey MacIntyre of the advocacy group Compassion and Choices said in a statement. “This prosecution could have chilled end-of-life decisions and pain care for millions of future terminally ill patients who simply want to die at home, peacefully and with dignity.”

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