Nurse in assisted-suicide case asks for no appeal

Barbara Mancini with husband Joe the day after a judge threw out her case. She had been accused of trying to help her sick father commit suicide.
Barbara Mancini with husband Joe the day after a judge threw out her case. She had been accused of trying to help her sick father commit suicide. (DAVID M WARREN / Staff Photographer)
Posted: February 14, 2014

Barbara Mancini pleaded Wednesday for Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane not to appeal a judge's decision to dismiss assisted-suicide charges against the Philadelphia nurse in the death of her father.

"Please don't do this," Mancini, 58, said at a news conference at her Roxborough home. She was arrested Feb. 4, 2013, after handing her terminally ill father, 93, legally prescribed morphine. After a hospice nurse called police, Mancini's father, Joseph Yourshaw of Pottsville, was taken to a hospital and revived. He died there four days later.

On Tuesday, Schuylkill County Court Judge Jacqueline Russell dismissed the case. She wrote in her 47-page opinion, "The commonwealth's case appears to have been based on little independent investigation, significant hearsay, including double hearsay received from third persons - speculation, guess, and defendant's alleged incriminating statements."

The Attorney General's Office said it would take until next week to decide whether to appeal.

Mancini's husband, Joe, was on the verge of tears Wednesday. "I hope Kathleen Kane decides to drop this thing and lets us get on with our lives," he said.

Barbara Mancini, who lost her job as an emergency room nurse at Lankenau Medical Center after her case went public, said she hoped to reapply now that it is over. A hospital spokeswoman said Mancini would be offered her job back.

But first her head has to stop spinning with joy and relief.

The advocacy group Compassion and Choices gave the Mancinis a $20,000 check Wednesday from its legal defense fund, collected from donations, to offset an estimated $100,000 in legal fees.

"I'm relieved and I'm happy, and that's something I haven't felt in over a year," Barbara Mancini said.

She said that not only were her own freedoms and rights violated by what she called an unjust prosecution, but her father's "end of life was nothing like he wanted it to be."

"A veteran of World War II, he fought for our freedoms, and his were stripped away at the end of his life. His end-of-life wishes, which were legal and stated, were violated, and I will never forget."


mvitez@phillynews.com

215-854-5639 @michaelvitez

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