Is this case the end of living wills and advance directives?

Brief synopsis of the case>> 

UPDATED: 7-26-2011



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Robert Weitzel, MD

Hello, and welcome. You have found the website where the world can see all medical records and legal documents, as well as the CBS "60 Minutes" TV segment, regarding the five patients that regulatory bureaucrats and government lawyers working in the state of Utah have accused Dr. Robert Weitzel of having murderedIn fact, these severely demented patients were given entirely appropriate and compassionate care.  Their families were given a choice when their elder became seriously, acutely medically ill: full workup and interventional care in the ICU, or letting nature take its course while keeping the patient out of pain.  They decided to order all medical interventions withdrawn.  The patients were given moderate doses of opiate to alleviate suffering, and were never overdosed.  This was then mischaracterized by county prosecutors and state bureaucrats as "active euthanasia".  If not for the integrity,  courage, and hard work of a few, prosecutorial misconduct would not have been discovered and the doctor would still be in prison. 

The site contains professional commentaries on the care given, and on the general issue of end-of-life care.  We hope you will look and judge for yourself whether the charts show anything but normal medical practice.  National organizations and experts have examined the records and are now backing the doctor, saying that the care was clearly within the usual standards of medical practice: was appropriate and compassionate, certainly no crimeHowever, currently in the state of Utah if you give even a moderate amount of opiate to a dying patient, and that patient then dies, you can be charged with murder.

What doctor will be willing to face criminal prosecution in order to abide by the terms of a living will?


A history of the legal battle that has been fought over these cases is enlightening, and has the latest news of progress.  Read this first if you want to understand the whole story. 

Want a quick synopsis of events to get oriented?

An overview of the usual care rendered in the Davis Hospital Geriatric Psychiatry Unit may be helpful.

Charts  (These were made public record by the state lawyers who brought the case.)

For a brief presentation of each patient’s medical history and hospital course:

  • Ennis Alldredge                   Color codes:  orange - agitation *
  • Ellen Anderson                                         red - pain
  • Mary Crane                                               green - terminal
  • Judith Larsen
  • Lydia Smith
Next are the charts themselves, starting with the Psychiatric Evaluation and including the Report of Consultation (essentially the History and Physical), Discharge Summary, Physician’s Orders, Progress Notes, Nurse’s Notes, and Advance Directives, these last four being typewritten transcriptions for easy reading.  
  • Ennis Alldredge                   Color codes:   orange - agitation *
  • Ellen Anderson                                         red - pain
  • Mary Crane                                                green - terminal
  • Judith Larsen
  • Lydia Smith           

*The charts are highlighted for 1) evidence of psychiatric agitation, necessitating aggressive psychotropic use, 2) evidence of terminal status, i.e. acute and serious medical distress, and 3) evidence of pain or suffering warranting analgesics during the last, hospice-type phase of the patients' hospitalizations.

Chronocharts: patient charts electronically arranged, in chronological order, rather than spread out amongst the different sections.  MUCH easier to read (but they take a while to download; largest is 496kb):

  • Ennis Alldredge                   Color codes:  orange - agitation *
  • Ellen Anderson                                         red - pain
  • Mary Crane                                               green - terminal
  • Judith Larsen
  • Lydia Smith

NOTE: If you would like a full, bound set of the medical records, with both the hand-written and transcribed notes, everything, we have a few available; contact Dr. Weitzel at the e-mail address below.

Trial Transcripts

First trial transcripts:   By volume:   Vols. 1-3 (with index)  Vols. 4-6   Vols. 7-9   Vols. 10-13   Vols. 14-17   Vols. 18-21.    Note: these are large files - up to 1.4 megabytes.  By date and witness:  6-9-00   PROSECUTION OPENING ARGUMENT>>   DEFENSE OPENING ARGUMENT>>   PROSECUTION   Sheila Heward>>   Sheila Moore>>   6-12-00   Todd Chambers>>   Welby Jensen, MD>>   Joe Morrison>>   Kathy Charlesworth>>   Rachel Stubbs>>   6-13-00   Karen Bringhurst>>   Scott Southworth, MD>>   Sharon Smith>>   Kent Smith>>   Bonnie Weight-Smith>>   Michael Sumko, MD>>   Alan Acord>>   6-14-00   Barbara Poelman>>   Diane Mariah>>   Scott Cunningham, DO>>   Vonda Alldredge>>   Greg Stevens, MD>>   James Pearce, MD>>   6-15-00   David Dienhart, MD>>   Robert Bitner, MD>>   Neal Clinger, MD>>   6-16-00   Steven Meek, MD>>   Tracy Scholl>>   Dorene Klei>>   Earline Cozzens>>   6-19-00   Richard Clark>>   Bonnie Hardey>>   6-20-00   Paul Jensen, MD>>   Marcel Bibeault>>   Harold Larsen>>   Merlin Larsen>>   6-21-00   Todd Grey, MD>>   Maureen Frikke, MD>>   6-22-00  Charles 6-23-00 Fehlauer, MD>>   Bradford 6-26-00 Hare, MD>>   Michael Crookston, MD>>    DEFENSE    6-28-00   Laurel Herbst, MD>>   Laurie 6-29-00 Willson, RN>>   Robert Rothfeder, MD>>   6-30-00   Sheila Hansen, RN>>   Joseph Cannon, MD>>   Robert Supenaw, PhD>>   Stratton Hill, MD>>   7-5-00   Robert 7-6-00 Weitzel, MD>>    7-7-00   PROSECUTION REBUTTAL    Bradford Hare, MD>>   Barbara Poelman>>   Jay Poelman>>   Bonnie Hardey>>   Michael Crookston, MD>>   Charles Fehlauer, MD>>    DEFENSE SURREBUTTAL   Robert Rothfeder, MD>>    7-10-00   PROSECUTION CLOSING ARGUMENT>>   DEFENSE CLOSING ARGUMENT>>   PROSECUTION REBUTTAL>>   VERDICT>> 

Click here for: the hearing testimony of Dr. Perry Fine ("Blows the state's case out of the water!" - Judge Thomas Kay)  

Second trial  PROSECUTION  11-4-02   Todd Chambers>>   Karla Johnson>>   Sheila Moore>>   Welby Jensen, MD>>   Diane Mariah>>   Barbara Poelman>>   11-6-02   David Wilding, MD>>   Michael Sumko, MD>>   Merlin Larsen>>   Alan Acord>>   Greg Stevens, MD>>   James Pearce, MD>>   Rachel Stubbs>>   11-7-02   Scott Southworth, MD>>   Kent Smith>>   Sharon Smith>>   Bonnie Weight-Smith>>   Karen Bringhurst>>   David Dedrickson, MD>>   Robert Bitner, MD>>   Kathy Charlesworth>>    Vonda Alldredge>>   11-8-02   Scott Cunningham, DO>>   David Dienhart, MD>>   Steven Meek, MD>>   Paul Jensen, MD>>   Neil Clinger, MD>>   11-13-02   Kathleen Kaufman>>   Michael Crookston, MD>>   Todd Grey, MD>>   11-14-02   Tracy Scholl>>   Earline Cozzens>>   Maureen Frikke, MD>>   Bonnie Hardey>>   11-15-02   Byron Bair, MD>>   Bradford Hare, MD>>     DEFENSE   11-18-02   Leslie Blake, MD>>   Bader Cassin>>   Laurie Willson, RN>>   11-20-02   Kerry Cranmer, MD>>   Keela Herr, PhD>>   Sharon Weinstein, MD>>   11-21-02   Perry Fine, MD>>   11-22-02   PROSECUTION REBUTTAL   Bradford Hare, MD>>    PROSECUTION CLOSING ARGUMENT>>    DEFENSE CLOSING ARGUMENT>>    PROSECUTION REBUTTAL>>       VERDICT>>

Decision and Order Granting New Trial>>  Overturns the unjust conviction.

            SEE THIS>>           Judith Larsen, all pages and photos together:      More prosecutorial misconduct!!

 Press and Letters

Press Accounts of Events:    Morphine Overdose Killer Gets 15 Years>>    Weitzel - Murderer or Trailblazer?>>    Case May Be Causing Anxiety>>    Ruling Is A Relief For Weitzel>>    Weitzel Won't Face Another Murder Trial>>    Rx Ruling May Affect Weitzel>>    Weitzel Filings Target 4 Attorneys>>    Davis Prosecutors Under Fire>>     Pain Control or State Control>>    Weitzel Wants Davis To Pay>>    Pain Wars>>    Doctors Line Up Behind Weitzel>>     Weitzel Denied Private Attorney>>    Dying Aren't Well Cared For>>    Prosecutors Willing to Negotiate>>    Private Attorney Back on Weitzel's Defense>>    '60 Minutes' Looks at Weitzel Case>>    '60 Minutes' to Feature Weitzel>>    Weitzel Says TV Did Him Justice>>    Weitzel's Finances Questioned>>    Weitzel Gets New Trial Date, Attorney>>     Davis Attorney Faces 2 Challengers>>     New State Form May Clarify End-of-Life Care>>     Weitzel Ruled Indigent>>     Weitzel's Lawyers Want a Move>>     Changing Pain-Relief Methods Brings Greater Relief>>     Pain Guidelines Encourage Vigilance>>     Changing the Face of Death>>    Weitzel Serves as Law Firm Adviser>>    Judge: Don't Crowd Courtroom With TVs>>    New Evidence and Witnesses in Weitzel Trial>>    Weitzel Files Federal Lawsuit Against Prosecutors>>     Weitzel Sues Prosecutors>>     Psychiatrist Accused of Drug Deaths Files Suit>>     Group Backing Weitzel Gave to Davis Challenger>>     Resolution Backs Physicians>>     Researcher Decries End-of-Life Crisis>>       

The New Trial:      Defense Experts Back Weitzel>>     Medical Experts Defend Treatment>>     Weitzel Trial Wrapping up>>     Doctors Back Weitzel's Care>>    Weitzel Gets Swift Acquittal>>     Jury Finds Weitzel Not Guilty>>     Innocent On All Counts>>     Weitzel Acquitted in Retrial>>    Study Finds Pain Management Inadequate>>    Trust in Juries>>     Weitzel Jury Is Convinced Firmly That He Is Innocent>>   Psychiatrist files lawsuit>>

(Published) Letters to the editor:    Chilling Effect>>    Weighing the Costs>>    Let Dr. Weitzel Go Free>>    Doctor Did His Best>>    Case Shows Need for Tender, Realistic Care>>    Constitutional Rights Eroded in Weitzel Case>>    Tribune Editorial Lacked Understanding>>    Pursue the Weitzel Case>>   Weitzel Didn't Kill Anyone>>    Prosecutors Disregarded Compassionate Care>>    Weitzel Honorable, Good Skier, too>>    Weitzel's Patients Very Ill>>    RNs Should Share Blame>>    Paper Oversimplified Info>>    Prosecutors Are Liars>>    Weitzel Case Lacks Merit>>    Weitzel Prosecutors Lied>>    Time to End Weitzel Case>>    Weitzel Case Pointless>>    Prosecution Showed Flaws>>     Painless in Utah>>     Put ex-Utah Official in Jail>>     Stand Behind Weitzel>>   

Unpublished letters:   Letter from Texas>>    Letter from North Dakota>>    Letter from Utah>>    Letter from Washington>>    Letter from Indiana>>    Letter from France>>    Letter from California>>    Letter from Kentucky>>    Letter from Denmark>>

Physician Support

Association of American Physicians and Surgeons support:   See the AAPS rebuttal of the state's lawyers>>    AAPS letter to Utah physicians>>    Amicus Brief - AAPS>>    UMA letter vs AAPS survey>>    AAPS letter rebutting Buhman letter>>    Letter to UMA>>    Group Backing Weitzel Gave to Davis Challenger>>

Utah Medical Association support:    UMA article: Criminal Liability>>     UMA Resolution, Condemning the Criminalization of Medicine>>

Utah Coalition to Improve End of Life Care:    Changing the Face of Death>>

Physician support:   Neurologist's letter>>    Oncologist's letter>>    Neurosurgeon's letter>>     E-mail with Dr. Hochman>>    Anesthesiologist's letter>>    Pathologist's letter>>    Urologist's letter>>    Separating Death From Agony>>    Psychiatrist's letter>>

Other groups:   Amicus Brief - Compassion in Dying Federation>>    New Mexico Att'y General speaks out>>    Minister's letter>>    National Foundation for the Treatment of Pain>>     Researcher Decries End-of-Life Crisis>>    

???   FAQ's    ???        Frequently asked questions>>    


Opiate Myths>>    More Myths>>    Criminal Act or Palliative Care?>>    Merck Manual>>    The Double Effect of Pain Medication - Separating Myth from Reality>>    Separating Death From Agony>>    Establishing a Right to Palliative Care>>    Skimping on Elderly's Pain Drugs 'Like Torture'>>    Persistent Pain in Nursing Home Residents>>    AGS Clinical Practice Guidelines>>    Facts on Dying - Utah>>    Changing Pain-Management Methods Bring Greater Relief>>     Photographic Evidence>>     New guidelines for MDs Draw Line Between Relief of Suffering and Euthanasia>>    Striving for a Gentle Farewell>>    Drug Control Policy Out of Balance>>   End of Life Pain Management: A Criminal Offense?>>

Legal  Briefs

Brief on Motion for New Trial>>     Hearing Testimony of Dr. Perry Fine>>     Decision and Order Granting New Trial>>    Brief on Witness Tampering >>     Brief on Recusal of the Trial Judge>>     Brief on Double Jeopardy>>     Brief on Retaining Private Attorney>>     Judge West's Decision, Refusing Recusal>>(.jpg)    Affidavit of Judge Kay>>     Judge West's Decision Recusing Judge Kay>>    Weitzel v. Wilson, et al>>

Many have asked where one can contact  Elizabeth "Old People Don't Feel Pain" Bowman, the prosecutor/nurse shown on "60 Minutes."  For your convenience:

Elizabeth A. Bowman
E. A. Bowman & Associates
8 East Broadway, Room 413
Salt Lake City, UT, 84111
(801) 532-4570   (no e-address)

Contact Dr. Weitzel directly at: raw1md*weitzelcharts.com  

*(Insert the @ symbol here)

Thank you!

"We must all die. But that I can save him from days of torture, that is what I feel as my great and ever new privilege. Pain is a more terrible lord of mankind than even death itself." -- Albert Schweitzer, 1931.


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