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A Baltimore Circuit Court judge denied Dr.Lawrence Egbert’s request to reinstate his medical license Thursday, but not before expressing some sympathy for the right-to-die advocate linked to six deaths in Maryland.

Judge Marcus Z. Shar explained to Egbert, who represented himself in court, that his powers to review the case were limited. After finding that Egbert held the hands of six Marylanders as they asphyxiated themselves with helium, the Maryland Board of Physicians stripped Egbert of his license in December. He appealed the decision in January.

“I do not question this was done by you altruistically, out of concern and compassion for these patients,” Shar said. “That is not the issue before me.”

Shar upheld the board’s decision that Egbert was acting within his role as a physician when he advised and assisted those who wanted to commit suicide, and that he acted unprofessionally, against medical ethics and state law.

Egbert repeated defenses that he and his former colleagues in the group the Final Exit Network were relieving the pain of people who suffered for years and wanted to end their lives on their own terms. Though Maryland regulators found he acted unprofessionally when he removed suicide paraphernalia from the scene of the deaths, Egbert said he only did so at the requests of patients concerned about the stigma of suicide.

“We were doing what physicians ought to be doing, and are not doing,” Egbert told Shar.

Shar said he could not reverse the board’s decision if he found that a “reasonable person would find as they did.”

“It may very well be that soon the world will catch up with this, or Maryland will catch up with this,” Shar said. “At this point, it has not.”

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