Euthanasia Advocate's Autopsy Uncertain

DIJON, France (AP) -- Results were inconclusive for an autopsy performed on the body of a woman found dead days after French authorities denied her euthanasia request, the Dijon prosecutor said Friday.

Jean-Pierre Alacchi said analyses performed on Chantal Sebire's body showed her death was not related to the rare tumor from which she suffered.

"There is no obvious cause (of death), no sort of hemorrhage, or kind of stroke that could have caused instant death," Alacchi told reporters.

The results of drug tests performed as part of the autopsy are not yet in, he said.

Sebire, a former teacher who was 52 years old when she died suddenly Wednesday, suffered from an unusual illness that apparently defied treatment. A tumor had burrowed through her sinuses and nasal cavities, causing her nose to swell to several times its original size and pushing one eyeball out of the socket, completely exposing it.

Sebire, who had been diagnosed with the condition eight years ago, had appealed to a French court to allow her to receive a lethal dose of barbiturates under a doctor's supervision. The court in the city of Dijon on Monday rejected Sebire's request. Her body was found at her home in the eastern town of Plombieres-les-Dijon two days later.

Sebire's family opposed the autopsy, but Alacchi maintained it was necessary.

"The law must know whether her death was a natural one of if someone helped her put an end to her life," he said.

A French law adopted in 2005 allows terminally ill people to refuse treatment in favor of death but stops short of allowing active euthanasia.


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