Right-to-die advocate kills self, 88-year-old wife, sheriff says

frank kavanaugh
Posted at 3:09 PM, Apr 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-19 15:09:00-04

PUNTA GORDA - A right-to-life advocate shot his wife and himself in a murder-suicide at a healthcare facility here, according to the sheriff's office.

Frank Kavanaugh, 81, and his wife Barbara Kavanaugh, 88, were found dead at 1:17 a.m. on Tuesday in one of the patient's rooms at the Solaris Healthcare Facility in Port Charlotte, Fl, according to the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office.

Both died of gunshots wounds. 

Frank Kavanaugh was a retired health care administrator and a right-to-die advocate. 

He taught at the George Washington School of Medicine and spoke often in the area on end-of-life issues, which he described as putting an end to needless pain and suffering at life’s end.

Kavanaugh was a board member of the “Final Exit Network." The network’s goal is to see laws enacted that allow terminally ill residents to end life through voluntary self administration of lethal medications, expressly prescribed by a physician for that person.

"Contrary to what people may believe or think, we do not assist people who are depressed or clinically suicidal," Kavanaugh is quoted as saying in a 2011 article by the Palm Beach Gardens Florida weekly.

“We prefer to talk about aid to dying, rather than suicide,” he said. “Suicide implies something psychotic, a psychiatric condition. We are not here to help depressed people end their lives. We would be glad to help them to get treatment for their depression, but that is not what we are all about.”

Kavanaugh was a proponent of more laws along the lines ofOregon’s Death with Dignity Act.