Welby's Doctor Defies Judge, Turns Off Respirator

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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.

Read the rest at Marlowe's Shade

1 Comment

I note and approve your added comment on Marlowe's Shade.

It sounds like he died quickly, was not dehydrated to death, but to what extent was this a result of this "cocktail of sedatives"? If it was just a matter of "removing treatment," what would have happened if the doctor _hadn't_ given him the "cocktail of sedatives"? Many of such sedatives depress breathing; it seems plausible that this made sure that he did indeed stop breathing fairly rapidly after the respirator was turned off.

In fact, it would have perhaps created a bit of a conundrum for the doctor if he hadn't stopped breathing. He would then have had to decide what to do if the man kept on living for days. Feed him? Do what?

This way, the question didn't arise. I'm very suspicious that that was the whole point of the sedatives.




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