Delighted to present the latest N.O. author, Seaside Sourpuss, in her opening post about that tragic death earlier today:
Tony Nicklinson, a man with locked-in syndrome who fought for the right for doctors to legally end his life, has died.
The 58-year-old was paralysed from the neck down after suffering a stroke in 2005 and wanted a doctor to be allowed to terminate his life.
Last week Mr Nicklinson, from Melksham, Wiltshire, lost his High Court case to allow doctors to end his life.
His family said on Twitter he died “peacefully” of natural causes.
Of course he did, even though his entire case was built around the premise that he would live many, many years in this hideous condition because, apart from being ‘locked in’, his general health was pretty good.
I hate to sound cynical but, as a layperson, his very sudden death means one of two things.
All the medical experts, family members etc and Mr Nicklinson himself lied about his general health whilst trying to force through a law, that gave, at best, loved ones and medical staff the legal right to kill patients that had claimed they didn’t want to live anymore, or at worst, protection from the law for loved ones, medical staff, and god knows who that decided a particular person should be killed.
Or, Mr Nicklinson was as healthy as they all said he was and someone, somehow, killed him off at his request, and will, in due course, face a court and have to explain why they did it. Which is how it should be, and how it should remain. If you really believe that ending the suffering of another human can only be accomplished by ending their life then you should have no fear and no shame in standing in a court of law and explaining it thus.
Either way, trying to create a law that absolves both the victim and his/her loved ones from the responsibility or guilt of ending a life, by forcing complete strangers (aka medical staff) to do it for you is wrong. If you want to end your life do it, if you want a loved one to help you do it, ask them.
When my mother was in her final few days of end stage renal cancer my family and the Drs met up and we agreed, as a team, that a high dose morphine pump was the best way to treat her. We all knew what that meant, having already seen my Mums twin sister through the same end. That is as close as anyone, be it friend, family loved one or medical person should ever come to ending the life of another.
It was a choice my family and I had to take, knowing full well what the outcome would be. Many years later I still question myself, but deep down I know we did the right thing.
Ending a life is a huge responsibility. A life changing thing. To try and create a law that passes this responsibility onto others, aka the medical staff, so your loved ones can escape the guilt that many thousands of people face, every day, week, month and year is quite hideous.
The fact that less than a week since this appeal failed the claiment is dead proves, in my mind, why this law is so important.