Wisconsin Pharmacist Under Investigation for Alleged Assisted Suicide

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 14, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Wisconsin Pharmacist Under Investigation for Alleged Assisted Suicide

by Maria Gallagher
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
June 14, 2004

New Berlin, WI (LifeNews.com) — Police are investigating whether a Wisconsin pharmacist helped his wife commit suicide. Thirty-two-year-old Kurt E. Kiesling of New Berlin is suspected of aiding his wife Tina’s efforts to end her life through a drug overdose.

The Kieslings reportedly signed a joint suicide note, which was obtained by Kurt Keisling’s parents. The parents sent Kiesling’s brother to the couple’s apartment, where he discovered Tina had died. Kurt was found naked, bleeding, and groggy.

Kiesling admitted his wife had taken pills with his help. He also said he had taken morphine. An internal investigation conducted by St. Luke’s Medical Center in Milwaukee, where Kiesling worked, revealed that he had stolen morphine from the medical facility.

The hospital suspended him in May for taking morphine for his own use.

Police have now subpoenaed all "notes and reports" from "any staff, physician, or other health care professional" who treated Kiesling at Waukesha Memorial Hospital, where he was taken after being found by his brother.

Kiesling has already been charged with felony counts of possession of narcotics and marijuana and misdemeanor counts of possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

The charges stem from goods seized from Kiesling’s home during the police investigation.

"Several vials of morphine, both full and empty, were found in the apartment," according to an affidavit. "During an autopsy of Tina Kiesling, the autopsy revealed an injection site in her right arm."

Kiesling himself admitted a desire to kill himself. But Waukesha County District Attorney Paul Bucher told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel newspaper that the admission would not affect whether he’s charged with assisting his wife to commit suicide.

"It’s an ongoing investigation, and he is still presumed innocent, so there is not a lot I can say at this point," Bucher told the newspaper. "But just because he might not have been successful in attempting to kill himself, I don’t see why we couldn’t pursue it if we’re able to determine that he played a role in her death," Bucher added.

Bucher won’t be making a decision in the case until the results of toxicology tests on the couple are revealed. Those results might not be available for several weeks.

A preliminary hearing in Kiesling’s drug case is scheduled for July 2.

Meanwhile, pro-life activists in Wisconsin see a direct connection between abortion and assisted suicide, which is often a form of euthanasia.

"…The lives of unborn children have been so completely devalued that the door has been opened to include other groups of vulnerable people whose lives are now at risk," Wisconsin Right to Life states on its web site.

The group adds, "Once assisted suicide choice is legitimized, the door will open even wider to allow death by lethal injection, even for those who have not requested it."

Related web sites:
Wisconsin Right to Life – https://www.wrtl.org