April 16, 2003


Euthanasia for British couple with non-terminal illness (Jeevan Vasagar and Alison Langley, April 15, 2003, The Guardian)
A British couple have been helped to commit suicide by a Swiss euthanasia group even though they were not suffering from terminal illness. Robert Stokes, 59, and his wife, Jennifer, 53, flew to Zurich at the end of March, where they drank the poison pentobarbital sodium, say Swiss police.

The couple, from Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, were assisted to commit suicide by Dignitas, the Swiss organisation that has aided the deaths of more than 100 people from around the world.

Both suffered from chronic, but not necessarily terminal, illnesses. They were among five people, including another British woman, who arrived in Zurich between March 31 and April 5 and killed themselves.

The number of so-called suicide tourists is becoming an embarrassment to the Swiss authorities, and alarming anti-euthanasia campaigners.

Edwin Loescher, a Zurich district attorney, said five assisted suicides in one week was "too many - it's nearly unbearable".

Court awards damages to disabled child for having been born (Tony Sheldon, 4/12/03, British Medical Journal)
For the first time in the Netherlands, a court has awarded damages to a severely disabled girl for the fact that she was borna so called "wrongful life" judgment.

It seems foolish for people to keep wondering why Europe and America have become estranged when theirs is a culture in which each individual increasingly despises everyone but himself. Why would we seek to maintain an alliance with a people who have such a strong, and perhaps warranted, death wish? Let them die off in the isolation they so assiduously seek. Posted by Orrin Judd at April 16, 2003 8:20 AM

Amazing. Who pays the damages?

Posted by: Tom C., Stamford, Ct. at April 16, 2003 2:34 PM

Say rescue personnel arrive on the scene of a horrible car accident and they find a comatose person inside. They can see that the person is horribly injured and will be severely disabled and disfigured if they survive, but there's a chance they can save them. So they go to extraordinary lengths to extracate them from the vehicle, they rush the person to a top hospital where top surgeons perform long surgeries, one after another, and they save the person's life, through much expense. And the person then comes out of the coma only to be horrified at their present state: disfigured and disabled. Can this person then sue for wrongful life? I see absolutely no difference. This kind of thing is appalling to me. Maybe someone is not happy with their life, but to sue on the basis that they should not have lived. That's just beyond words.

Posted by: RC at April 17, 2003 6:38 AM


But that's a key point--my own life is never wrongful, it's that of my child, who, fortunately, can't speak for himself.

Posted by: oj at April 17, 2003 8:09 AM