Doctor defends euthanasia as 'act of love'

15th March 2007, Comments 0 comments

PERIGUEUX, France, March 15, 2007 (AFP) - A French doctor at the center of a euthanasia trial said Thursday she acted out of love for her terminally-ill patient when she prescribed a lethal injection to end her suffering.

PERIGUEUX, France, March 15, 2007 (AFP) - A French doctor at the center of a euthanasia trial said Thursday she acted out of love for her terminally-ill patient when she prescribed a lethal injection to end her suffering.

"I have no regrets," Laurence Tramois told the Dordogne criminal court on the final day of the trial for the death of Paulette Druais in August 2003.

"It was an act of love, of respect," said Tramois, 35, who is accused along with nurse Chantal Chanel, 40, of poisoning the 65-year-old woman.

Druais was suffering from pancreatic cancer in hospital in the southwestern Dordogne region when she died on August 25, 2003, minutes after Chanel injected her with the lethal dose of potassium chloride that Tramois had prescribed.

A verdict in the trial is expected late Thursday or Friday.

Tramois, her voice trembling with emotion, told the court that she had known Druais since she was 17 and that she felt like a member of her family.

Tramois' sister Sophie is married to Druais' son.

"The therapeutic course that I had been following had reached its limit," Tramois said, adding that the patient, heavily sedated with morphine, had developed intestinal complications that would lead to fecal vomiting.

The doctor said that she decided to resort to the lethal injection after Druais had told her that she did not want to die "in filth".

Druais' husband and son testified during the trial that they were grateful to Tramois and Chanel for their actions and insisted that Paulette Druais had asked to end her life.

But the son Laurent admitted during testimony on Wednesday that the family had never "broached the topic" of euthanasia even though they were distraught over the failing health of Paulette Druais.

Investigators maintain that the decision to administer the lethal injection was taken without proper consultation with the patient's family.

The case has revived debate about euthanasia in the runup to the April-May election campaign, pushing candidates to take a stance on the right to die.

Legislation adopted in 2005 allows families to request that life-support equipment for a terminally-ill patient be switched off, but does not allow a doctor to take action to end a patient's life.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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