AC360° Associate Producer
Dr. Jack Kevorkian isn’t the only “Dr. Death” in the United States. Physician-assisted suicide is legal in three states – Montana, Oregon and Washington. Doctors can write lethal prescriptions for people who choose to end their lives. Massachusetts has a bill in the legislature that would legalize it too. Two Connecticut doctors are in court to challenge the law that would have them prosecuted with second-degree manslaughter for prescribing lethal medication. Randi Kaye examines their case and talks to one of their patients tonight.
As the country was entering its worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, Security and Exchange Commission employees and contractors allegedly were surfing porn sites at work using government computers, according to an agency report obtained by CNN. In a letter to Senator Charles Grassley, the SEC Inspector General wrote that one senior attorney at SEC headquarters in Washington spent up to eight hours a day accessing Internet porn. An SEC accountant attempted to access porn websites 1,800 times in a two-week period and had 600 pornographic images on her computer hard drive. Another SEC accountant attempted to access porn sites 16,000 times in a single month.
Program Note: Don't miss Randi Kaye's full report on AC360° tonight at 10 p.m. ET.
AC360° Production Assistant
Dr. Gary Blick has been an HIV/AIDS specialist for 23 years. He has cared for his patients at their healthiest until their final days. And those final days have always been the hardest.
“I’m a physician, but I’m a human being on top of this,” said Dr. Blick of Norwalk, Connecticut. “It’s really suffering to watch your patients go slowly and agonizingly.”
During those final days with patients, Dr. Blick has repeatedly gotten one request: to help them die quickly and with dignity.
“Many times they have begged me to help them,” Dr. Blick said. “They actually beg for these medications.”
He means medication like Percocet, Xanax or other prescription pills that patients can get at their local pharmacies. However if his patients were to overdose on medication he prescribed, Dr. Blick would be charged with second-degree manslaughter. Under Connecticut law, it’s a felony to intentionally aid another person in committing suicide.
So Dr. Blick, along with Connecticut physician Dr. Ron Levine, is suing the state so he won’t have to go to jail when it comes time to help his patients with death. The two physicians want the court to clarify that that the action does not constitute assisted suicide.
“We’re not talking about hooking up a potassium chloride drip and having our patient’s heart stopped from arrhythmia,” said Dr. Blick.” We’re talking about terminally ill patients who I’ve counseled over the years, and that I would like to be able to give them prescriptions and help them die with dignity.”
However, opponents say there is no other way to interpret the action of a doctor who knowingly provides drugs for the purpose of killing.
“Doctors who want to be able to legally prescribe poison so that a patient will kill themselves – that’s not medicine,” said Wesley J. Smith of the International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide. “That is suicide as described in any dictionary.”
And that’s what is currently in the books in Connecticut, which Dr. Blick and his terminally ill patients hope to overturn.
You can find more information about Blick v. Connecticut at Compassion and Choices.
Reporter's Note: I’m finishing my trip to Kansas by tapping my heels together and saying…oh nevermind. I’m just getting onto a plane. But not before sending my latest letter to the White House.
Tom Foreman | BIO
Dear Mr. President,
Well, I’m wrapping up my visit to Kansas today and heading back home, and I have to admit I’m going to miss it. The people have all been really nice, and I’ve already told you how much I enjoy the Great Plains. We chased some cows, visited Boot Hill, watched guys weld, peeked into a casino, saw a prairie fire, played with a few dogs (one of which sat in the driver’s seat of our big fancy bus…ha!) and enjoyed more cuts of beef than I usually see in a month. Good times.
I’ll miss it for another reason too. We media types often do a terrible job of just showing Americans the country in which they live, and I think that is a really important part of what we ought to do. Going back to DC means going back to talking to experts, politicians, and people who…while certainly educated and experienced in one part of the America…sometimes seem pretty disconnected from the rest of it.
Editor's Note: After last night's AC360°, we heard from many of you about the debate surrounding the Arizona immigration bill. We also heard from you about the “Planet in Peril” special. Some of you were curious about the diseases that Anderson and Dr. Gupta saw in Africa. They wonder what the chances are of them contracting them.
The Arizona bill is so anti Hispanic and so anti immigrants. When I was in Kenya, the police would single out Somalis and take them to Jail for being refugee in their country. We had to bribe them not to take us to jail that we would run out of money many times. I think the next thing Arizona is going to do is let their police authority accept bribery for God's sake. This bill just does not make any Sense. If they want to stop immigration why don't they pass laws that punish firms that hire illegal immigrants? I think what this is just the fact that desperate times call for racist measures.
I want to know what the difference is, from the federal gov. profiling Middle Eastern persons coming from Pakistan to this country, than from the police in Arizona asking for proof that someone is here illegally. I don't get it !!!
If these guests don't want people stopped for this – tell them to tell all the illegals to go home and come legally like I did.