Decision is Victory for Dying Patients and Families Nationwide, Compassion & Choices Says
(Pottsville, Pa. – Feb. 11, 2014) The nation’s leading end-of-life choice advocacy organization, Compassion & Choices, praised the dismissal today of an unjust felony “assisted suicide” case against a Philadelphia nurse as a victory for dying patients and autonomy at the end of life. Schuylkill County Judge Jacqueline Russell granted the defense’s motion to dismiss the case against Barbara Mancini for the death of her 93-year-old, terminally ill father, Joe Yourshaw, of Pottsville, exactly one year to the day that Joe died. The conclusion of Judge Russell’s decision was:
“A jury may not receive a case where it must rely on conjecture to reach a verdict. As the case presented to the court would not warrant submission to a jury due to the lack of competent evidence elicited by the Commonwealth on the crime charged – with the Commonwealth’s reliance on speculation and guess serving as an inappropriate means to prove its case – Defendant’s petition for habeas corpus is being granted.”
Compassion & Choices and Pain Treatment Topics filed an amicus brief in support of the defense’s brief and motion to dismiss the “assisted suicide” charge, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
“The Mancini family’s year-long nightmare finally is over. This unjust prosecution upended this family’s life and livelihood and delayed their grieving for their patriarch Joe Yourshaw. This case demonstrates that the government has no business interfering in families’ end-of-life decisions,” said Compassion & Choices Chief Program Officer Mickey MacIntyre. “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.” More
[Excerpt of article]
Gary Holder-Winfield watched his mother die a slow painful death over four years in the hospital. That helped convince him to embrace a controversial bill coming up in the state legislature—to allow physicians to help terminally ill patients take their lives.
Holder-Winfield, a state representative, reflected on his personal transformation on that issue as he trudged up the hills of Upper Westville Sunday afternoon.
He trudged carefully. The sidewalks were treacherously icy. He slipped repeatedly, nearly falling and scattering campaign brochures all over the ice-encrusted snow-white lawns on Stevenson Road. Then he resumed speaking about his mother’s death as he met a basement room full of Democrats, about how he sees his pursuit of elected office as a continuation of her legacy.
Read the entire article here.
In a strange turn of events, the End of Life Choice: Six Words portrait project, displayed at the Connecticut State Capitol has been removed for reasons that remain unclear. Compassion & Choices Connecticut went through the proper approval process to display the project and are unsure why their work was singled out. The following is CT campaign manager, Tim Appleton’s, comment in a Connecticut New Junkie article from Feb, 8th.
[Excerpt of article]
It’s unclear exactly why the photos were removed. Phone calls to Legislative Management, which manages the building, went unanswered Friday evening.
“We heard from many people in the Capitol that they really liked the display on the opening day of session,” Tim Appleton, state director of Compassion and Choices Connecticut, said Friday. “We did everything right in submitting for this. We are hoping to find a new home for it.”
The photos included quotes from supporters of the cause.
“I am concerned that the voices of our supporters are being silenced in a place meant to enhance public debate,” Appleton said. “Why aren’t these citizens allowed to be heard through this portrait display? We hope legislators will take the time to hear from the people in these portraits in an upcoming hearing.”
Read the full article here.
[Excerpt from editorial]
Whether such a bill, if it came to the floor, would be approved by the Connecticut legislature is an open question, as is whether Gov. Dannel P. Malloy would sign it into law. But legislators ought to give it a chance. Poll after poll shows that most Americans want end-of life decisions to be made by themselves, not by the government.
Read the full editorial here.