Paralysed man Tony Nicklinson reignites right to die debate
Tony Nicklinson, 57, who suffers from “locked-in syndrome” following a stroke in 2005, is at the focal point of discussion regarding euthanasia.
Mr Nicklinson, who can only communicate by voice synthesizers that register blinking, wants his doctor to have the right to lawfully end his “intolerable” life.
His wife, Jane Nicklinson, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that he was completely dependent on others, even for something as little as scratching an itch, and the only way to end his suffering was to end his life. She said: “We are asking for it to be legal for someone to end his life. The only way to relieve Tony’s suffering is to kill him. There’s nothing else that can be done for him.”
“He can’t do anything. He’s completely paralysed and he can’t speak. If he has an itch I have to scratch it for him.”
Despite their plea to make the assisted suicide legal, the former nurse stated that her husband was in no hurry to depart from his “unbearable” life. She said: “People think he wants to die straight away. He doesn’t – he just wants to know that when the time comes he has a way out.”
The legal action has so far taken a positive step forward as Mr Justice Charles, the judge at High Court in London, announced his decision to allow Mr Nicklinson’s case to proceed.
Paul Bowen, Mr Nicklinson’s representative, argued his case stating that ending Mr Nicklinson’s life after his consent with the help of a doctor was the only way “by which his suffering may be brought to an end and his fundamental common law rights of autonomy and dignity may be vindicated.”
The representative of the Ministry of Justice however counter argued at a previous hearing that Mr Nicklinson is urging for “the deliberate taking of life” to be legal.
He added: “That is not and cannot be the law of England and Wales unless parliament was to say otherwise.”