A Philadelphia nurse charged with having aided the suicide of her 93-year-old terminally ill father is asking a court to dismiss the case.
Barbara Mancini, 57, is accused of having given morphine to 93-year-old Joe Yourshaw of Schuylkill County in February.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports defense attorneys argue in a Schuylkill County Court petition that Mancini did nothing more than hand her father the bottle at his request while he was in hospice care at his Pottsville home.
They also argue that the state law is vague and the Supreme Court has ruled that dying patients have the right to pain relief even if it hastens death.
"He was administered more morphine at the hospital," Pottsville lawyer Frederick Fanelli wrote in the motion obtained by the Inquirer. "There is no evidence linking the morphine he ingested at his home to his death."
Yourshaw died four days later at a hospital. That was after a hospice nurse making a call to check on Yourshaw arrived at the home a short time later and called 911, despite a "Do Not Resuscitate'' order. In the interim, Yourshaw was given a drug antidote, awoke agitated over his hospitalization, and became upset when told his daughter might be in trouble, according to Mancini's supporters.
"Don't hurt Barbara,'' he cried, according to Compassion & Choices, a Denver-based group that supports "death with dignity'' laws and has advocated for Mancini since her arrest in June.