Human Rights

VICTORY: Hospital will no longer remove oxygen from cancer patient


UPDATE, 5/1/19, 8:13p EST: Good news from Life Legal Defense Foundation. Below is the group’s statement with regard to Catie Cassidy:

Yesterday, Life Legal reported that 64-year-old Catie Cassidy was threatened with removal of oxygen while receiving care at a Minnesota hospital. Without supplemental oxygen, Catie would have suffocated to death.

In response, Life Legal attorneys sent a demand letter letting the hospital know of its duties under Minnesota law.

We have received news today that Fairview Hospital in Edina is fully cooperating with Catie’s health care proxy and that they will continue to provide Catie with oxygen as needed.

We are grateful for the work of our Life Legal Minnesota team, especially attorneys Wayne Holstad and Craig Beuning of Holstad and Knaak, who intervened immediately on Catie’s behalf.

“Life Legal is pleased that Catie will receive the care she needs and that her wish to fight for her life as long as she can will be honored,” said Life Legal Executive Director Alexandra Snyder. “It is time for us to have a larger conversation about the inherent value of every human life and about our moral obligation to protect those who are most vulnerable.”

UPDATE, 5/1/19, 4:01p EST: Fairview Hospital responded this afternoon to Live Action with a statement:

If you’ve heard or seen the inaccurate accusations about euthanasia at one of our hospitals, we’d like to address this directly: Because of privacy laws, we cannot comment on a specific patient’s medical condition. We can share, however, how we address end-of-life care. End-of-life care is focused on comfort care during the dying process. We communicate closely with the patient or, if they are unable to participate in conversation, with their designated decision-maker if they have one. We do our best to honor the patient’s known wishes, whether those wishes are to prolong life or to stop treatment.

Euthanasia is illegal in the State of Minnesota, and our health system does not practice it. It is always our goal to provide medically appropriate and ethical care and comfort to our patients with the utmost dignity and honor.

4/30/19: The attorneys at Life Legal Defense Foundation shared a post on Facebook today regarding a 64-year-old lung cancer patient, Catie Cassidy, at Fairview Hospital in Edina, Minnesota, whom the hospital is threatening to euthanize by removing her oxygen tomorrow — which LLDF says would cause her to suffocate to death. LLDF writes:

Catie is a patient at a hospital in Minnesota. She has lung cancer and needs oxygen to remain comfortable. The hospital plans to remove Catie’s oxygen tomorrow morning, which will result in her death by suffocation.

Catie is on video saying she does not want the hospital to “pull the plug.” She relayed this to the hospital’s chaplain, who was sent to Catie’s room by the hospital to prepare her to be euthanized. Even though the hospital has been sedating Catie, she understands what the hospital is planning to do and says she is still fighting and is “not ready” to die.

We are appalled that a hospital would even consider withdrawing oxygen from a patient who has clearly communicated that she wants to live. When asked if she wants her oxygen removed, Catie’s response was “NO! I want to live!”

Withdrawing Catie’s oxygen to cause her death is active euthanasia, which is illegal in Minnesota and every other state.

Life Legal is evaluating legal options at this time.

In the video below, Catie can be heard clearly recounting a conversation she had with an unnamed individual about the idea of being euthanized: “I said, ‘I’m not ready.’ He said, ‘You don’t wanna pull the plug?’ I said, ‘NO WAY!'”


As LLDF pointed out, “Withdrawing Catie’s oxygen to cause her death is active euthanasia, which is illegal in Minnesota and every other state.”

LLDF also wrote a blog post with more information about Catie’s situation, saying that “Life Legal is representing Catie’s health care proxy. We are demanding that the hospital transfer Catie to another facility that will care for her, as required by law.”

The hospital did not immediately return a request for comment.

UPDATED 4/30/19 at 6:10p EST.

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