A Presentation by Barbara Mancini
Co-sponsored with the Ambler Area Coalition for Peace
Synopsis: Dying, of course, gets us all. In 2013, 93 year-old Joe Yourshaw was dying. He had prepared carefully for the end of his life by discussing his wishes, completing an advance directive, appointing a healthcare proxy and enrolling in home hospice care. Yet his careful planning devolved into a nightmarish ordeal where he was subjected to unwanted medical treatment in defiance of his wishes, and his daughter, Barbara Mancini, endured a year-long criminal prosecution for “aiding an attempted suicide.” Her case sparked outrage and condemnation in the media, and it was ultimately dismissed by a judge due to a “lack of competent evidence.”
Barbara will discuss her legal case, and show how dying can be fraught with unanticipated perils, not only for the person dying, but for the caregivers. Inadequate treatment of end-of-life pain, vaguely-worded criminal statutes, a legal system that incentivizes winning over justice, and the temptations to exploit end-of life controversies for political gain are just some of the factors that can array against the well-intentioned efforts of ordinary people trying to provide care for a dying loved one. She will also discuss how medical aid-in-dying, legislation currently being debated in several states, can impact end-of-life care.
Bio: Barbara Mancini worked as a nurse for more than 30 years before her family’s tragic experience led her to become an advocate for improving the care of the terminally ill and for expanding the options available at the end of life.
In 2013, after handing her dying 93-year-old father the legally prescribed pain medicine he’d requested, she was arrested and prosecuted for allegedly helping her father attempt suicide. The baseless charge led her father to the painful death he’d carefully tried to avoid and forced her to spend a year fighting back through the criminal justice system. Her case drew widespread media attention, including a segment on the TV news program 60 Minutes, commentaries in the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, and interviews on National Public Radio.
Mancini has extensive public speaking experience and has served as a panelist on forums about end-of-life issues and options in university settings, at attorney and judicial conferences, and at public policy organizations. Her commentaries on her experience have been published in the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Hartford Courant, and other media outlets.
She was born and raised in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, and currently lives in Philadelphia with her husband, Joe, and their two daughters.