Final Exit Network found guilty for assisting the suicide of Minnesota woman

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

A Minnesota Judge applied the maximum sentence to the Final Exit Network (FEN) for their role in assisting the suicide of Doreen Dunn (57) in 2007, after a jury found the Final Exit Network guilty last May.

The Star Tribune reported that:

During the trial, prosecutors argued that the group gave Doreen Dunn, of Apple Valley, a “blueprint” for ending her life and made efforts to conceal her suicide from family and authorities by removing the equipment she used. 
Criminal cases against Final Exit Network coordinator Roberta Massey, of Bear, Del., and the group’s medical director, Lawrence Egbert, 87, of Baltimore, are still pending. 
Another defendant, Jerry Dincin, died and charges against Thomas Goodwin were dismissed in 2013. 

According to a LaCrosse Tribune article:

Dakota County prosecutor Elizabeth Swank told jurors that the evidence showed that two members of Final Exit Network went to Dunn's home in Apple Valley to assist her suicide. They then removed the equipment that she used for suicide so that it appeared she had died of natural causes. 
Dunn's husband of 29 years arrived home on May 30, 2007, to find her dead on the couch. Swank said Dunn had a blanket pulled up to her neck with her hands folded on her chest. 
Swank said that despite Dunn's pain and depression, she had no life-threatening illness and her family was puzzled by her death. There were good things happening in her life: Her daughter who had been in Africa for about a year was coming home the next day and her son's fiancee was scheduled to give birth that week. However, her husband was also planning to move out, the prosecutor said.

Judge Christian Wilton senteced FEN to the maximum sentence by ordering that they pay a $30,000 fine plus $3000 towards the funeral cost.

FEN has been prosecuted for assisting several suicides. In Georgia, John Celmer, who was depressed after recovering from cancer, died after FEN assisted his suicide. Celmer's widow Susan Celmer, testified against FEN. 

Last year Larry Egbert, the medical director FEN, lost his medical license in Maryland.

Final Exit Network found guilty in Minnesota assisted suicide case

By Alex Schadenberg, International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Members of the Final Exit Network (FEN) were found guilty of assisting the suicide death and interfering with the death scene in the death Doreen Dunn (57) in 2007. Dunn was living with chronic depression but she was not not terminally ill.

The jury returned with a guilty verdict after a 90 minute deliberation.

Sentencing is scheduled for August 24. FEN has stated that it will appeal the convictions.

According to an article in the LaCrosse Tribune:

Dakota County prosecutor Elizabeth Swank told jurors that the evidence showed that two members of Final Exit Network went to Dunn's home in Apple Valley to assist her suicide. They then removed the equipment that she used for suicide so that it appeared she had died of natural causes. 
Dunn's husband of 29 years arrived home on May 30, 2007, to find her dead on the couch. Swank said Dunn had a blanket pulled up to her neck with her hands folded on her chest.

Swank said that despite Dunn's pain and depression, she had no life-threatening illness and her family was puzzled by her death. There were good things happening in her life: Her daughter who had been in Africa for about a year was coming home the next day and her son's fiancee was scheduled to give birth that week. However, her husband was also planning to move out, the prosecutor said.

Robert Rivas, the lawyer for the assisted suicide group, did not dispute that Jerry Dincin and Larry Egbert were present at Dunn's death, but he disputes that they assisted her suicide.

The Final Exit Network has been prosecuted in several assisted suicide cases. In Georgia, John Celmer, who was depressed after recovering from cancer, died by suicide with the assistance of the Final Exit Network. Celmer's widow Susan Celmer, testified against the Final Exit Network. The Final Exit Network assists the suicide of people at the most vulnerable time of their life. Last year Larry Egbert, the medical director for the Final Exit Network, lost his medical license in Maryland.

In October 2014, William Melchert-Dinkel, of Minnesota, was convicted in the assisted suicide deaths of Canadian teenager, Nadia Kajouji, and and Mark Drybrough, from England.

Australia's Dr Death still Mr Death after medical suspension appeal lost.

Paul Russell debating Philip Nitschke

By Paul Russell, Director of HOPE Australia.

Australian Medical Board Tribunal dismisses Nitschke’s appeal

In a media release today from Exit International, suspended doctor, Philip Nitschke, often dubbed ‘Dr Death’, notes that the Northern Territory Health Professional Review Tribunal has rejected his appeal against the suspension of his medical practice certificate by the South Australian Medical Board.

Nitschke was suspended from medical practice in July 2014 after an ABC Western Australia TV interview regarding the death of Perth man, Nigel Brayley drew the ire of suicide prevention organisations. The medical board said it was necessary to suspend Nitschke immediately over the need to ‘protect public health or safety’. Nitschke appealed the suspension on a number of grounds; most notably that he had no professional relationship and therefore no duty of care as a doctor towards Nigel Brayley’s welfare in regards to his decision to commit suicide.

The tribunal appeal hearings, originally to be heard in Adelaide, South Australia, were eventually heard in Darwin, Northern Territory over three days in November after Nitschke successfully argued that the place of his medical registration was the appropriate place for the hearings.

Nitschke says in his press statement that he intends to appeal the suspension decision to the NT Supreme Court claiming that the Tribunal made ‘clear errors in law’.

Link to the full article.

America's Dr Death loses medical license.

By Alex Schadenberg, International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Lawrence Egbert

Lawrence Egbert, a leader of the Final Exit Network, has lost his medical license in Maryland.

After a two year review, the Maryland Board of Physicians revoked his medical license after deciding that Egbert's actions were unethical and illegal. Egbert has said that he plans to appeal.

An article in the Baltimore Sun stated:

A Baltimore anesthesiologist who made national news as "The New Doctor Death" held six elderly Marylanders' hands as they asphyxiated themselves with helium and covered up the suicides after they died, according to a state order filed this month stripping him of his medical license. 
The suicides are among nearly 300 Lawrence D. Egbert said he helped arrange across the country as an "exit guide" for right-to-die group Final Exit Network. He and several colleagues were arrested in 2009 amid an undercover investigation in Georgia, but he avoided any punishment there or in another case in Arizona. He awaits trial for assisting in a suicide in Minnesota

Stephen Drake, an expert on the Final Exit Network and the research analyst for the disability rights group Not Dead Yet told the Baltimore Sun:

Link to the full article.

NDY Protests the World Federation Conference – From My Vantage Point

By Diane Coleman

      Diane Coleman

      Diane Coleman

Not Dead Yet and other disability rights activists from around the U.S. and Canada held a three-day protest vigil at an international assisted suicide and euthanasia conference held in Chicago last week, hosted by the U.S. group Final Exit Network.  Some of the first day’s events, including an opening rally, were covered here.  We plan to post video of the rally soon, and want to thank our speakers.

Link to the full article

Robin Williams and the hypocrisy of suicide prevention organizations

By Stephen Drake
Research Analyst with Not Dead Yet USA

The sudden emergence of suicide prevention organizations and their representatives in the media responding to the death of Robin Williams has been mind-blowingly outrageous to me – I track the suicide coverage – assisted and non-assisted – of old, ill and disabled people regularly. It’s part of my job. A near-constant in reading and watching that coverage has been the near-total absence of suicide prevention organizations and professionals in reacting to any suicide of old, ill or elderly people labelled as “right to die,” death with dignity,” “end of life,” “assisted suicide” or any other terminology that seeks to differentiate the suicides of some people from the larger group deemed as “preventable tragedies.”

Read more: http://www.notdeadyet.org/2014/08/robin-williams-and-the-hypocrisy-of-suicide-prevention-organizations.html

Robin Williams