Monday, April 14, 2008

Illinois Veterinarian Daniel McKay Killed Deformed Newborn Son by Slamming his Head Onto the Floor

The New York Times reported in 1985 that Illinois Veterinarian Daniel McKay had killed his newborn infant son, who was born deformed, by smashing his head onto the hospital floor.

The article reported:

"The facts of what occurred . . . were not in dispute . . . Dr. McKay's wife gave birth to a son at 11:58 P.M. June 27. But the baby was not breathing and a medical team worked for several minutes to force air into his lungs . . . By then, Dr. McKay had noticed the child's deformities. The attending obstetrician, Dr. Joaquin Ramos, and a nurse-anesthesist, Paul K. Yeboah, discussed the possibility of the child's having a fatal genetic defect, Trisomy 13 syndrome, after discovering that the infant's heart was dislocated, his lungs were malfunctioning and his testicles were missing. . . . Dr. McKay asked them not to use ''heroic measures'' to save the child, but they continued to do so, explaining that it was hospital policy. . .
Then, after the baby's condition was stabilized, after most of the nurses had left and Dr. Ramos was at the bedside of Mrs. McKay, Dr. McKay grabbed the infant and smashed his head to the floor."

The defense claimed that McKay had been under extreme stress and was temporarily insane.

The prosecution pointed out that McKay had previously explained to someone that this was a perfectly acceptable was to kill a pig -- that is: "by smashing its head against a truck bumper."

The jury was deadlocked, 10 to 2, in favor of a murder conviction. The article stated a retrial would be scheduled, but I was unable to find information on the ultimate outcome and the retrial.

Another article provided this account:

"[McKay bashed] the baby's head against the floor several times.

As blood and brain tissue splattered the wall and floor, a nurse screamed and Dr. Ramos shouted, ''Dan, what have you done?'

'I killed it,' Dr. McKay, covered with blood, replied as he walked calmly out of the room. "

So, my question is this:

If this is the method he chooses to kill his newborn son, what do you think he does to pets he "euthanizes" when the owners aren't around?

"Dr." McKay appears to be back in practice even as I write this. The veterinary clinic referenced in the articles as being his practice at the time of the 1985 trial is listed, and he associated with it. It is Beecher Veterinary Clinic, and January 2008 "Village of Beecher" meeting minutes show that he is still representing that clinic.

You may wonder why I am publishing such very old news. When I came across this, it really struck me as an example of what people refer to as "the link." That is the link between how humans treat animals ultimately translates into how they will treat humans. It is particularly disturbing because we are talking about this man's own infant son.

According to the press account of the prosecution's argument, McKay had argued that this was an acceptable method of killing pigs (and presumably other animals) -- smashing their heads into something (specifically, a truck bumper). He obviously developed that attitude during his veterinary career. How many animals did he kill this way before finally becoming desensitized enough that he could do this to his newborn child?

"Euthanasia" is a term that literally means "good death." It doesn't mean killing. It doesn't mean just death, good or bad, but "good" death. Many of the methods used by veterinarians to end the lives of animals do not, in my mind, classify as "euthanasia." This includes vets that inject euthanasia solution directly into the hearts of conscious animals. This includes vets that use gas chambers. This also includes vets -- or anyone else -- that thinks bashing some helpless being's brains out is an OK way to end their lives.

None of these things are "euthanasia" -- a "good death." They are something else. Perhaps it begins with a K, or an M.