Thursday, July 28, 2005

Ethicist slams decision to kill terminal patient

Ethicist slams decision to kill terminal patient: "Catholic ethicist Dr Nicholas Tonti-Filippini has condemned a decision to withdraw the feeding tube of Melbourne comatose patient Maria Korp.

Ms Korp - a Catholic - will have just days to live after her life support is withdrawn today. Public Advocate Julian Gardner, her legal guardian, has decided the tube should be withdrawn immediately.

Dr Tonti-Filippini told the Herald-Sun that medical evidence, from both Australia and Britain, showed that a decision to stop feeding people in Mrs Korp's condition should not be made within 12 months.

'It is far too early, on the basis of medical evidence, to have a definite prognosis,' he said. 'There is no evidence that feeding (Maria Korp) is causing any problems so the only reason for withdrawing feeding is to kill her.'

Ms Korp, 50, has been on life support in a vegetative state in the Alfred hospital since she was found in the boot of her car in February. Mr Korp will face court today in a bid to make a final visit to the wife he is accused of trying to kill.

Dr Tonti-Filippini said he fears Mr Gardner's decision might start a 'worrying trend' in treatment of people in a vegetative state.

'It is extraordinary that the official responsible for looking after disabled people is now responsible for the death of a disabled person by withdrawing ordinary and reasonable care,' he said."
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