Exoo bought a small house in Gastonia North Carolina that he was planning to renovate and turn-into a suicide clinic.
Link to my blog article on the suicide clinic: http://alexschadenberg.blogspot.com/2010/09/george-exoo-planning-to-start-death.html
Recently Stuart Weisberg, a psychiatrist in Portland Oregon announced his intention to open a suicide clinic, similar to the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland. Weisberg was planning to offer extra services for his clients, including a $1200 fee for a three session with his dog (dog therapy). Link to my blog article about Weisberg: http://alexschadenberg.blogspot.com/2010/06/dignitas-founder-ludwig-minelli-is-now.html
The fascination with opening assisted suicide clinics appears to be linked to the reports that Ludwig Minelli, the founder of Dignitas the assisted suicide clinic in Switzerland, has become phenomenally wealthy from his death mission.
Yesterday, an article written by Karen Garloch was published in the Charlotte Observer reported that Exoo didn't expect that he would be met with such outrage for opening an assisted suicide clinic and has shelved his plans to open an assisted suicide clinic.
Only days after going public, an internationally known right-to-die advocate says he's calling off plans to open a center for assisted suicide in Gastonia.
The Rev. George Exoo of West Virginia claims to have attended the suicide deaths of more than 100 people in multiple states and, most famously, in Ireland.
Exoo, 68, spent several months in a West Virginia jail in 2007 until a U.S. judge rejected a request from Irish authorities who wanted to extradite him and charge him in connection with the 2002 suicide of Rosemary Toole.
The experience didn't deter Exoo. He still believes mentally competent adults have the right to end their lives with assistance and support if pain from cancer or other disease becomes too great.
His plan for Gastonia grew out of his purchase four years ago of a $30,000 investment property. In a phone interview, he said renovations didn't go as planned, and he came up with the idea to use one of two houses on the lot as a "hospice facility for people who want to die intentionally."
Exoo thought North Carolina would be a good location because it has no law specifically making assisted suicide a criminal act. (N.C. law allows a person to choose a natural death, free from unwanted medical treatment or life-prolonging measures. But it also says that "should not be construed to authorize any affirmative or deliberate act or omission to end life other than to permit the natural process of dying.")
Thirty-six states, including South Carolina, have laws specifically prohibiting assisted suicide. Physician-assisted suicide is legal in Oregon, Washington and Montana.
Exoo said he expected people would come from other states to take advantage of his service in Gastonia. Unlike Michigan's Jack Kevorkian, the widely publicized "Dr. Death," Exoo said he had hoped to operate quietly, like a shelter for battered women.
But last week, after newspaper and TV reports generated "nasty" website comments from the public, Exoo said he's abandoning his plans. "It's been a nightmare," he said.
Exoo's idea would have run into other roadblocks anyway.
Zoning might have been a problem because his property is in a residential area. Also, hospices require state approval in North Carolina. Gaston Hospice has been in operation since 1981, and the current state plan doesn't call for another.
Beyond that, hospice isn't the right word for what Exoo was planning. The hospice movement is based on providing pain relief and spiritual and emotional comfort at the end of life. But it does not endorse suicide.
When I talked to Exoo, he didn't seem to have thought much about these details. His focus was on people who might want his assistance.
Link to the article in the Charlotte Observer: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2010/09/21/1707013/assisted-suicide-plan-shelved.html
A couple of years ago Jon Ronson, a film biographer from the UK, produced a film about Rev Georger Exoo that was televised in the UK entitled Reverend Death. Ronson came to the project as a supporter of euthanasia. While filming the biography of Exoo he became aware of many concerns related to Exoo and the euthanasia lobby in general.
Link to my blog comment about the film - Rev Death: http://alexschadenberg.blogspot.com/2008/05/euthanasia-advocates-fail-to-distance.html
Link to the Reverend Death film on U-Tube: http://www.youtube.com/user/slackmaster2000#p/u/7/0VR7mK5hZwU