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Doctors forced to let woman

  • Doctors forced to let woman, 26, die

  • Depressed over inability to have kids
  • Decided to commit suicide
  • Doctors faced charges if they saved her


A 26-YEAR-OLD woman who drank poison was allowed to die in a British hospital after handing doctors a living will begging them not to save her life.


Kerrie Wooltorton, who was believed to be depressed about her inability to have children, drank antifreeze at her home before calling an ambulance to take her to the Norfolk and Norwich hospital.

However, when she arrived she handed over a letter, or living will, clearly stating she realised what she had done and did not want doctors to save her life.

A recent inquest into her death in September 2007 heard how the doctors had no legal alternative but to let her die because she had signed her living will.

If they had saved her, they risked being charged with assault. reported that it was believed Wooltorton's death marked the first time a British person had used a living will to commit suicide.

In his verdict, Norfolk coroner William Armstrong said the hospital was not to blame for Wooltorton's death.

"She had capacity to consent to treatment which, it is more likely than not, would have prevented her death," he said. 

"She refused such treatment in full knowledge of the consequences and died as a result.",27574,26152659-401,00.html?referrer=email...

blondeyy blondeyy 6 years 31 weeks
She had this planned out perfectly. She WANTED to die. So, she drank the anti-freeze, and called an ambulance. That way, at the hospital she could receive pain medication, anti-emetics and, most likely, anti-convulsive meds I am certain while she died, so that she wouldn't have to suffer at home. And, having her signed living will in hand, knew that all the doctors could do would be to keep her comfortable and let her die. For a horrible thing to do, but she knew EXACTLY how to play it.
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 6 years 33 weeks
What I don't understand is, why did she call an ambulance?
cheekyredhead cheekyredhead 6 years 34 weeks
The poison rendered her organs useless. This is not a quick and painless death either...her choice was a painful and tormented several hours with people forced to watch and endure their own emotions about her decision. This form of suicide is extremely selfish. Dealing with patients who are dying and would do just about anything for more pains them to see life wasted so. Those lives who dangle on the hope that the organ they need to survive will magically appear to save them is another form of suffering. Those of us in healthcare are there to aid, comfort and heal....and the comfort part is probably the most difficult. Those who are fatally ill and wish to end their suffering are looking for comfort. Many opposed to assisted suicide see it differently after working with the terminally ill. Those who deal with mentally ill patients who for various reasons attempt suicide know that eventually they will succeed no matter how grand an effort is made to help them. Sam...that bragging Dr was forced to come to grips with the fact he already knew but was refusing to acknowledge... there really is only so much anyone can do to help someone intent of killing themselves. It was a painful reminder that there are some we cannot save---that do not want to be saved. He was also a horse's ass for bragging...which will haunt him forever when his patient is finally successful.
tiff58 tiff58 6 years 34 weeks
Oh, how awful, Sam. Both stories. :( I always think about that, too, with regard to pets. A lot of people actually consider it inhumane not to put a pet that is suffering down, but assisted suicide is wrong? It's odd.
samantha999 samantha999 6 years 34 weeks
I had a neighbor whose son was shrink and he bragged how he kept someone alive after 10 suicide attempts. When I asked him if the person was trying so hard to kill himself was he not doing more harm by saving him each and every time? And had he written a paper on this guy? He got pissed and said yes he had written a paper and no it wasn't cruel to since he was "saving him" I said he has tried 10 times over half of those while under his care and he was most likely going to try again. I compared his treatment to torture of the soul. He never spoke to me again.
MartiniLush MartiniLush 6 years 34 weeks
I saw another article about this, Sam and that one indicated that she had tried this same thing another time and had consented to treatment then. I feel so sad for her and her family. She had to be in so much emotional pain to want to take her own life. This is awful.
samantha999 samantha999 6 years 34 weeks
I agree she needed help but that help was needed before this suicide attempt. I doubt it was her first try.
UnDave35 UnDave35 6 years 34 weeks
She wasn't suffering physically. She needed help, not death. Her life wasn't over, until she took it. It's horrible that the doctors weren't allowed to help her. It's a terrible waste.
samantha999 samantha999 6 years 34 weeks
she drank anti-freeze - would her organs be viable? We allow ourselves to put down our pets but when it comes to human suffering we hesitate. We hook people up to machines to keep a body functioning when the brain is dead. Sometimes all the psych work and meds don't help and the person really is depressed until it hurts. Maybe this is here, so we can learn to appreciate life even more.
UnDave35 UnDave35 6 years 34 weeks
This is just sad and wrong. She was depressed, how is she legally able to think rationally? That system is seriousily messed up.
cheekyredhead cheekyredhead 6 years 34 weeks
Suicide is difficult. I am a supporter of assisted suicide when a person's life will end anyway from a painful illness. I would choose an end with pride over one of suffering which would result in the same. Many are going to question whether the physicians should have done something anyway. Ultimately I view this form of suicide as a very selfish act. She didn't want to die alone, yet she made others suffer with her. Each of those physicians will live with her as a memory they shouldn't have been inflicted with. That is indeed the meaning of senseless death....selfish to the core. Had she chosen to hang herself after calling 911 and left a note donating her organs to someone else at least she would have given life to someone else.
cheekyredhead cheekyredhead 6 years 34 weeks
When people choose the route it will not matter if you try to save them...they will just try again and again until they succeed. I am not saying that if someone comes to you and tells you they are considering suicide that you should say..."Sure if that is what you want to do then go ahead" BECAUSE the ones that go tell people they are "considering it" are looking for help and may possibly be helped. It is the ones who have already made this decision that you can't really help. One of my ex husband's family members attempted suicide numerous times...we got her help. When we all thought she was finally over that hump and seemed to have dealt with her demons...we later discovered she had only made a long and elaborate plan which she meticulously followed to her eventual death. She spent an entire year planning it and left evidence to prove that to all of us.