Connecticut judge dismisses assisted suicide case

A request by two doctors seeking to prescribe lethal medication to mentally competent terminal patients who asked for help to die has been rejected by a Connecticut Superior Court judge.

Judge Julia Aurigemma declared that a state law prohibiting assisting suicide applied to physicians helping dying patients to end their lives. The issue should be solved by the legislature not the courts.

The doctors’ contention was that helping terminally ill patients end their lives was “aid in dying” rather than suicide. Suicide was a choice of whether or not to die, whereas aid in dying involved a choice of when a patient should die, and how much pain and suffering the patient should experience first.

Kathryn Tucker, legal director for US end-of-life care advocacy group Compassion & Choices, said it was “a bit perplexing” that Aurigemma’s ruling addressed the merits of the case, despite the fact that the plaintiffs had not been able to fully argue on those merits. ~ Hartford Courant, Jun 8

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