Deadly Consequences

Annette says she wants the right to euthanize her severely-disabled children, who are being kept alive only by feeding tubes. What would you do? Then, former model, Stephanie Vostry, says she’s fighting to survive chronic Lyme disease, an illness some believe she may be faking. Plus, chronic Lyme disease hits close to home for a "Dr. Phil" staff member.

Mercy or Murder?


 

 

 
Annette says she wants the right to euthanize her children, 42-year-old Jeffrey and 43-year-old Janet, who are suffering from the rare, incurable genetic disorder, Sanfilippo Syndrome. “If Janet and Jeffrey were able to make a decision about life, the way it is with them, they would opt for suicide,” Annette tells Global News Canada in the documentary, Taking Mercy.

Annette recalls that the “terrible twos” lasted longer than expected, and by age 4, she realized something wasn’t right with her children: they were losing motor skills and losing the language they had developed. A hospital in London, Ontario, finally handed down the devastating diagnosis. Janet and Jeffrey’s conditions progressively worsened, and at ages 7 and 8, they were institutionalized — and have been ever since.
    
“They have said for years already that they don’t think [Jeffrey] can hear or see — but how do you judge?” Annette asks. “[It’s] the same with brain activity. How do you judge how much [activity is there]?” She compares their conditions to that of a comatose patient. “There’s sometimes brain activity, but how much?” she asks. Annette says she first thought about taking control of her children’s lives when the feeding tubes went in. “If God wanted them to live past adulthood, then the tubes wouldn’t have been needed,” she says. “The tubes are allowing them to exist. Without the tubes, they wouldn’t be here. This is no life.”

Dr. Phil welcomes Annette to the show. “Tell me exactly what you want to do and exactly how you’ve come to the decision,” Dr. Phil says.

"I saw an article in the paper that said that, again, someone had tried to pass the law for euthanasia — assisted suicide — and it was vetoed,” she says. “I got angry and wrote a letter to a newspaper; and the Global TV program read that letter, and they approached me [to do a story].

“After 25 years of watching them just exist, it’s time that somebody did something," she continues. "I didn’t want to be the one to do it, but I’m here,” she adds.

“If you were going to do it, do you now wish you had done it 25 years ago?” Dr. Phil asks Annette.

She says she would have considered doing it 17 years ago, when Jeffrey first had his feeding tube inserted.


1 of 2