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Thursday, March 9, 2000

Group against
suicide goes

The group will spread the
word about local suicides
possibly linked to a video

By Susan Kreifels


A local coalition that opposes legalizing physician-assisted suicides will campaign nationwide to prevent future television showings of a controversial guide to committing suicide.

A Honolulu medical examiner said she believes the two showings last week on Oahu's public-access channel were connected to two suicides by depressed people who used similar methods to those shown on the video.

The program was produced as a guide for terminally ill people who choose to die rather than suffer.

"It's inconceivable that anyone would consider showing it again after this has happened," said Kelly Rosati, spokeswoman for Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate and Compassionate Care. "We want to make sure it's not shown here or on the mainland so the tragedy doesn't happen again."

The partnership, made up of several professional medical organizations and other groups, helped kill legislation last year that would have legalized physician-assisted suicide for the terminally ill. The group was to hold a news conference today.

Although there was demand for a third showing of "Final Exit" because of confusion over scheduling, Olelo Community Television decided it will not run again.

Derek Humphry, author of the bestselling book "Final Exit," which was the basis of the video, said the video ran twice in Eugene, Ore., last month, but there were no reported suicides believed connected to the showings.

Humphry said public-access TV on Maui and in Tucson, Ariz., planned to air the video. But Maui public-access TV officials said no one in the community had requested a showing.

Rosati said the coalition would contact major news organizations on the mainland about the local suicides and members would spread the word through their professional connections.

E-mail to City Desk

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