Documentation provided rebutting lawsuit allegations

The Maui News prides itself on even-handed journalism. I was appalled by the scurrilous defamation of Heather Parsons, an excellent person, in a May 5 article. This detailed a civil lawsuit against Parsons, who stepped in to support Fay Block, who voluntarily ended her life of chronic, unbearable pain.

The paper was provided with documentation rebutting allegations in the suit but chose not to use it. Here are some facts culled from telephone records, outlined in a memorandum prepared for a proposed mediation the family did not accept:

• Parsons has not been charged with any crime. Courts have upheld a patient’s right to refuse life-sustaining medical treatment, and Block ended her life by voluntarily ceasing to eat and drink in the dignified way of native peoples.

• Parsons agreed to assist Block only if hospice came aboard, which Islands Hospice did, and she followed its protocol. The drugs given were for pain and anxiety, all properly gauged for comfortable sedation.

• Block was of sound mind and strongly in control of her process until the end, including disposition of her assets. All involved in Block’s death were instructed not to inform her children.

Great damage was done not only to the careers of Parsons, and to her husband Rob, a dedicated civil servant, but to others in the growing effort to help people die well.

The Maui News owes its readers a look at what is really going on.

Laurel Murphy