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This post is not about Terry Schiavo

The sad story of Terry Schiavo has dominated the blogosphere for the past week or two. I have not made a single post about it, and I'm not going to start getting involved in the debate about when it's appropriate to euthanize someone now.

I will note, however, that sometimes it's possible to be a little too eager to wrap things up. The Asahi Shimbun reports:

In a case that sparked debate over ending treatment for terminally ill patients, the Yokohama District Court on Friday found a doctor guilty of murdering a comatose man.

Setsuko Suda, 50, former head of Kawasaki Kyodo Hospital's respiratory department, was sentenced to three years in prison, suspended for five years.

Presiding Judge Kenji Hirose said Suda "deviated from the last line allowed for a doctor" when she killed the 58-year-old patient in November 1998 by removing a tracheal tube and injecting him with muscle relaxant.

"Suda retracted the tube (that helped the patient to breathe) without the family's request and, when the patient began to agonize, determined to choke him with muscle relaxant," the judge said.

He said the doctor killed the man on a "misunderstanding" that his family had agreed to end his treatment.
That's quite a misunderstanding. Somehow I don't think a sumimasen is going to cut it.




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