Panel Will Review Case of Girl in Massachusetts Euthanasia Fight

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 24, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Panel Will Review Case of Girl in Massachusetts Euthanasia Fight Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 24, 2006

Boston, MA ( — Governor Mitt Romney yesterday announced that he will put together an independent panel to investigate the case of Haleigh Poutre, an 11 year-old Massachusetts girl who is at the center of a euthanasia battle similar to that of Terri Schiavo.

Poutre was beaten into a coma by her adoptive parents and was placed into state custody. State officials pressed for and won a case, over her stepfather’s objections, to have Poutre euthanized.

The state Supreme Court sided with Massachusetts officials last week.

Then, Poutre started breathing on her own and efforts to remove her feeding tube and disconnect her from life support were halted.

Romney, who said "errors in judgment were made," will put together a panel to probe the case and go over her entire file with the Department of Social Services.

According to an Associated Press report, the commission members will be announced later this week and they will look for missed signs of abuse by her stepparents and determine if the September beating which put Poutre in the hospital could have been prevented.

It will also look into the state’s handling of her care after the incident.

"One cannot look at the life of Haleigh Poutre without being overwhelmed with sadness," Romney said at a news conference, according to the AP report.

"She was not someone who fell through the cracks — doctors and social workers were watching. But errors in judgment were made."

One day after getting the court ruling to remove her from life support, state officials said Poutre was breathing on her own and doctors are monitoring her for more signs he condition is improving.

DSS Commissioner Harry Spence told AP he welcomes the review. He indicated Poutre will not be removed from life support at this time.

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Court Favors Euthanasia for Massachusetts Girl, Though She’s Doing Better –