Christine Malèvre, a nurse who had worked at Francois-Quesnay hospital in the Paris suburbs, was sentenced on the 31st January 2003 to 10 years in prison for the murder of six patients between 1997 and 1998. Mlle Malèvre received the minimum sentence requested by prosecutors and was banned for life from the nursing profession. She was acquitted of a seventh count of murder.
Mlle Malèvre has appealed the Court’s decision, arguing – as she argued since July 1998 – that she acted out of compassion and was merely helping to end people’s suffering. She admits to just four deaths, one of which she said was “accidental”. However, families of several of the patients who died deny that their relatives had asked to die, and Mlle Malèvre has been unable to prove her claim.
Because Mlle Malèvre did not obtain documentation which proved that the patients had requested assistance, ADMD and several other Right to Die campaign groups are unable to back Malèvre’s case.
Christine Malèvre’s appeal is expected to last until next week. Her case, along with that of Vincent Humbert (see above) and Mireille Jospin who ended her own life in December 2002, has rekindled the assisted dying debate in France.