Marlowe's Shade

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Welby's Doctor Defies Judge, Turns Off Respirator

From Yahoo

An Italian doctor said on Thursday he had switched off the life support system of a terminally ill man who died after losing a legal battle to have his respirator disconnected, but the doctor denied it was illegal euthanasia.
Piergiorgio Welby, who would have turned 61 next week, had advanced muscular dystrophy, leaving him bedridden but lucid. His pleas to be allowed to die sparked an impassioned debate over the right to die which split predominantly Catholic Italy.
"Welby's case is not one of euthanasia. It is about refusing treatment," anesthetist Mario Riccio told a news conference.
Riccio said he gave Welby an intravenous cocktail of sedatives, then removed his respirator. The 47-year-old doctor said he believed he had not broken the law but that he was willing to answer magistrate's questions about Welby's death.
Euthanasia is banned in predominantly Catholic Italy and the
Vatican opposes euthanasia. Only Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium and the U.S. state of Oregon permit assisted suicide for the terminally ill.
Doctors who perform euthanasia can face up to 15 years in prison. But doctors and politicians supporting Welby said the Italian constitution gives patients the right to refuse medical treatment, and they had volunteered to remove his respirator.

I still don't consider turning off the respirator euthanasia.

I am however extremely suspicious of the "cocktail of sedatives". It sounds like terminal sedation.
papijoe 9:35 AM