Euthanasia campaigner dies
Thu, 23 Aug 2012 7:01a.m.
By Maria Cheng
Tony Nicklinson, paralysed and unable to speak, found life so unbearable he wanted to die. On Wednesday, the 58-year-old Briton got his wish.
His family said he died of pneumonia at home.
In January, Nicklinson asked the High Court to declare that any doctor who killed him with his consent would not be charged with murder. Last week, the court rejected his request, a decision that Nicklinson said had left him "devastated and heartbroken."
Nicklinson was a former corporate manager and rugby player who suffered a stroke in 2005 that left him with locked-in syndrome. He was unable to speak or move below his neck and required constant care. Nicklinson communicated mostly by blinking, although his mind had remained unaffected and his condition was not terminal.
Nicklinson had argued that British law violated his right to "private and family life" as guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights, on the ground that being able to choose how to die is a matter of personal autonomy. He had previously described his life as "a living nightmare."
One of his daughters said on Twitter that before he died, Nicklinson had asked them to tweet "Goodbye world the time has come, I had some fun."
Police said they would not be investigating Nicklinson's death. "We can confirm he passed away," a police spokesman said on customary condition of anonymity. "His death certificate has been signed by a doctor, so it is not a matter for Wiltshire Police or the coroner."
Saimo Chahal, Nicklinson's lawyer, said his health had deteriorated over the week-end after he caught pneumonia. Nicklinson had legal documents drawn up in 2004 to refuse any life-saving treatment. He had also been refusing food since last week.
Nicklinson had said that even if he were granted the right to die, he would not want to be killed immediately, but just wanted to know that the option existed.
Experts weren't sure what impact, if any, his death might have on the ongoing euthanasia debate in Britain.
Penney Lewis, a law professor at King's College London, said previous deaths of euthanasia advocates didn't have any effect on changing laws to allow the practice.
"The evidence seems to be that parliaments are not galvanized into action by the deaths of those who have been fighting for (euthanasia) legalization," she said in an email. Nicklinson "was so distressed by the High Court decision, it is sad to think he died while still absorbing that."
In Europe, only Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands allow euthanasia. Switzerland allows assisted suicide and is the only country that helps foreigners die at a clinic near Zurich.
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30/08/2012 11:54:13 p.m.
My proposition would be for people to make a decision on that when they are well, right state of might and during their healthy normal life just like what we do on volunteering to be body parts donors. This eliminates the possibility of irrationality because of pain. Under streme pain and hopelessness, the human mind is inclined to take any easy way out if available. The availability of Euthanasia as an easy way out just promotes. Implementing this practice is an issue on a slippery slope, the grey area is still wide for us to take the chance of allowing it
23/08/2012 2:20:54 p.m.
I can understand that people do want this to happen euthanasia. But I believe that it can be abused as well. It is sad how can we detect if a person is in the right frame of mind to be able to consent to their wishes. I myself had watched my two grandparents go thru pain as their suffered their illnesses, they never asked for anyone to take their lives no. They of course left this earth when it was their time. I can only say that as much as i hear you and feel your pain yet i can only say that we all must let things happen in a natural way thru the processes and not with drugs or asking others to. Live life to the fullest here on earth as much as you can and the time will come when it is meant to be. Yet i disagree with euthanasia i wouldnt want to live with that responsibility on my shoulders it is not right.
23/08/2012 1:02:06 p.m.
Politicians, Doctors and Lawyers are a disgrace to their profession, lack integrity and morally inept, when they allow terminally ill patents to suffer, without wanting to change the law, for those who desperately want to die.
A legal document signed and witnessed by a Doctor, Lawyer and Family members should be sufficient to allow a terminally ill patent to receive assistance, which allows them to die with dignity, and with the blessing of the justice system.
23/08/2012 10:41:14 a.m.
THe problem with this is his last days were of hopelessness and misery because of the decision against him.....terrible way to end his life it should have been a comfortable and happy end, which is what he wanted.
23/08/2012 10:05:01 a.m.
Hope you are running around free as a bird. RIP mate
23/08/2012 9:45:44 a.m.
I would like to think that if I had a terminal illness, or a condition that impacted on the quality of my life, that I would be given the respect I deserve as a human being, and allowed to choose whether I lived or died. I feel its wrong that the law is allowed to play god in this way. Its a personal choice. I can understand the arguments against euthenasia but I can also understand being in the situation where you cant enjoy life and hate being a burden on family, friends, even yourself.
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