French ‘euthanasia’ doctor attempts suicide after guilty verdict
Bonnemaison was found unconscious in his car on the edge of a forest in the Tosse commune in southwestern France, after trying to gas himself with exhaust fumes, a medical source told Daily Telegraph.
The 54-year-old was flown to hospital by helicopter, where he remains in an “extremely serious” condition.
“He is between life and death,” the paper’s source said.
Last week, the former doctor was handed a two-year suspended sentence for killing one of his patients by an appeals court, which partially overturned an acquittal by a lower court in 2014.
Bonnemaison’s trial attracted huge attention in France amid an ongoing public debate on assisted dying in the country.
He was initially accused of killing seven “particularly vulnerable people” – five women and two men – in March 2010 and July 2011, facing up to life in prison.
The medic defended himself at the appeal court by saying he only gave the injections to suffering patients in order “relieve but not to kill.”
“Medicine is my life, my patients are my life and I miss them,” Bonnemaison, who was also struck of the French medical register, told the court.
The prosecutors in the case acknowledged the doctor was "not a killer, not a poisoner in the common sense of the term," which saw him acquitted of six murder charges.
However, the appeals court still found Bonnemaison guilty of the death of his seventh patient, an 86-year-old female.
Making it easier for terminally ill people to seek assisted dying was one of the key promises during a campaign for office of French President Francois Hollande.
In March, an overwhelming majority of French MPs voted in favor of a law allowing doctors to put incurable patients in a “deep sleep” until they die.
In summer 2014, a French court ruled that a man, who had been in a vegetative state for six years, could be taken off life support. But the landmark ruling was immediately blocked by the European Court of Human Rights, which led to a review of the case.
Doctors also declined to execute the court order saying they feared for their safety after receiving death threats from anti-euthanasia activists.