By now you know the plight of Barbara Mancini, the Pennsylvania woman who stands accused of “assisted suicide” in the death of her terminally ill 93-year-old father, Joe Yourshaw.
Despite months of public outrage and near-universal local condemnation, Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane refuses to back down on her unjust prosecution of Barbara. As the case heads for trial, Barbara faces up to 10 years in prison.
As you can imagine, this harrowing ordeal is a tremendous emotional burden on the Mancini family — Barbara, her husband Joe, their children, and her widowed mother.
Yet the family also bears an enormous financial burden. Barbara has been placed on unpaid leave from her job as an ER nurse. Her husband, a Philadelphia paramedic, must work overtime as the family’s legal bills mount.
Compassion & Choices has long provided legal support in cases where our justice system is at odds with the reality of compassionate end-of-life care. Now, to help families like the Mancinis, we have a Legal Defense Fund as part of our Compassion & Choices Action Network.
Gifts to the Legal Defense Fund will defray legal fees and associated expenses of people and organizations facing civil, criminal or disciplinary legal action. Because of its express purpose, contributions to the Fund are not tax deductible.
Barbara Mancini is like thousands of other daughters and sons caring for aging and dying parents. She sat by her father’s bedside as he suffered a painful litany of ailments, including end-stage diabetes, heart and cardiovascular disease, stroke, kidney disease and arthritis. Enrolled in hospice, he yearned to die peacefully, at home. He gave Barbara medical power of attorney to carry out his end-of-life wishes.
Authorities allege that Barbara handed her dying father a partially filled bottle of morphine at his request — an act they construe as “assisted suicide.” A hospice nurse who arrived shortly after Joe ingested the medication called 911. Revived at the hospital, he was furious to learn that his daughter was under arrest. He died with that anguish — after the hospital gave him still more morphine — four days later.
Families suffer when loved ones die. The pain of that loss is unimaginable. And when a good death — at home, surrounded by family — goes awry, it’s doubly painful. Add to that the strain of criminal charges, lengthy legal proceedings and soaring costs … well, it’s more than anyone should have to bear.
Thank you for your generous support.
P.S. If you have not yet done so, I urge you to read Joe Mancini’s moving essay, which so beautifully captures his wife’s generous and giving nature. Read it here. Your gift to the Compassion & Choices Action Network Legal Defense Fund can have a profound impact on good people like the Mancinis who are caught in a legal nightmare.