Family defends doctor at euthanasia trial

15th March 2007, Comments 0 comments

PERIGUEUX, France, March 14, 2007 (AFP) - The son of a terminally-ill woman at the center of an euthanasia case asked a French court on Wednesday to release the nurse and doctor on trial for her death.

PERIGUEUX, France, March 14, 2007 (AFP) - The son of a terminally-ill woman at the center of an euthanasia case asked a French court on Wednesday to release the nurse and doctor on trial for her death.

Laurent Druais said his mother Paulette had asked to die and that the family had been relieved when she finally passed away on August 25, 2003, minutes after receiving a lethal injection from nurse Chantal Chanel.

Chanel, 40, and doctor Laurence Tramois, 35, are accused of poisoning Druais when she was suffering from pancreatic cancer in a hospital in the southwestern Dordogne region.

"It is terrible what Chantal and Laurence are being subjected to," Laurent Druais said in testimony before the Dordogne criminal court in Perigueux.

He said the two women "shouldn't be in this courtroom" and insisted that it was his mother's wish "to end it".

"She wanted to end her suffering. She wanted us to help her go. She asked that of me," said Laurent Druais.

But he admitted that the family had never really "broached the topic" of euthanasia even though they were all distraught with the failing health of Paulette Druais.

Investigators maintain that the decision to administer the lethal injection was taken without proper consultation with the family of the patient even though Druais had many times expressed her desire to end her life.

Druais' husband Michel on Tuesday told the court that he supported "with all his heart" the actions taken by the nurse and doctor, whom he described as "victims".

The trial opened on Monday with Tramois stating that she took full responsibility for the death of Druais as she had prescribed the lethal dose of potassium chloride that ended her life.

The case is reviving debate about euthanasia in the runup to the April-May election campaign with candidates saying they are willing to consider changes to the current legislation.

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.

The court on Wednesday also heard Sophie Tramois, the sister of the accused doctor and the son's partner who testified that Paulette Druais "wanted an injection to die."

Tramois, who also worked at the hospital, wept on the stand as she recalled that the day before her death, Druais had developed intestinal complications that triggered fecal vomiting.

A verdict is expected on Friday. Tramois and Chanel face a possible jail sentence of 30 years.

Copyright AFP

SUbject: French news

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