Bioethics Blog Posts Tagged power

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Calling Hollywood: have we got a script for you!

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Source: BioEdge.org.

Source: BioEdge.org.

Liz Van Note acquitted   

Amongst the exiguous collateral benefits of the legalisation of assisted suicide and euthanasia are scripts for B-grade Hollywood films and TV dramas. On cable TV in Canada and the US “Mary Kills People” is currently being screened. This being is billed as “a provocative six-episode dark comedic drama series” about an ER doctor who illegally moonlights as an “angel of death” for the terminally ill.

But the best plots come from real life. This one from Missouri shows how family quarrels, criminal weaknesses and money intersect in advance directives.

Susan “Liz” Van Note has been found innocent of the murders of her father, William Van Note, and his partner, Sharon Dickson in 2010. They were shot and stabbed to death at their home. Ms Dickson died at the scene; Mr Van Note was unconscious and taken to hospital. Liz Van Note was described in the media as a lawyer specialising in end-of-life issues. She was also the executor of her father’s estate. At the hospital she produced a durable power of attorney which in which he had declared that life support should be turned off after four days. She insisted, the doctors complied and he died.

At the trial it emerged that Mr Van Note’s estate was worth about US$8 million and that he had left the bulk of it to Ms Dickson, to the consternation of his daughter, who was in serious financial difficulties. The defence attorney pinned the the murder on a mysterious man who was unable to repay a debt of $600,000 to Mr Van Note.

This article was originally published on BioEdge.org under a Creative Commons License. If you enjoyed this article, visit BioEdge.org for more.


The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors / blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

House committee votes against DC assisted suicide law

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Source: BioEdge.org.

Source: BioEdge.org.

Washington DC’s assisted suicide law hit a major roadblock this week, with a House of Representatives Oversight Committee voting to overturn the legislation.

The committee voted 22-14 against the law after hearing arguments from over a dozen lawmakers.

“I worry that assisted suicide will create a marketplace for death,” said Jason Chaffetz, a Utah Republican who heads the Oversight Committee. “I think it’s fundamentally wrong.”

The US Constitution gives Congress the power to overturn laws in the 68-square-mile (177-square-km) district. The committee decision, however, requires passage by both the House and Senate and signature by the president.

Washington DC council members were indignant at the decision, which they see as an unacceptable trespass of Congress into local governance: “I urge Chairman Chaffetz to allow DC officials to govern DC — and focus on the more pressing issues facing our country”, Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a statement Monday.

The DC assisted suicide law comes into effect today, but it will take District agencies several months to set up the required process before terminally ill residents can try to obtain life-ending drugs, and the city has to identify funds for that project.

This article is published by Xavier Symons and BioEdge under a Creative Commons licence. You may republish it or translate it free of charge with attribution for non-commercial purposes following these guidelines. If you teach at a university we ask that your department make a donation. Commercial media must contact us for permission and fees. Some articles on this site are published under different terms.

This article was originally published on BioEdge.org under a Creative Commons License. If you enjoyed this article, visit BioEdge.org for more.


The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors / blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.