Can-Do-Ability: Answers and Solutions from my personal experiences of living with a disability

The Man Who Is Fighting For His Right To Die

15 Mar 2012It’s heart-wrenching to see someone suffering from a terminal illness, and sometimes all you wish for that person, is to be able to take away their pain.

There is a vast worldwide debate, which has been ongoing for a long time now, about whether or not euthanasia should be made legalized. Some countries have passed laws that do allow euthanasia or assisted suicide, but not everyone is willing to jump on board.

There are many people who believe that life and death should be left up to the all mighty man above, and others (myself included) who believe that we wouldn’t sit by and watch a sick dog die slowly, so it shouldn’t be acceptable for our human loved ones.

What about those who have suffered from a life altering accident or illness though? Who are reliant on someone else to do everything for them, and who can barely even communicate their thoughts and feelings. There is currently no way for these types of people to access assisted suicide, and they are often too debilitated to take their life into their own hands, so therefore, are left to suffer, trapped in an incapacitated body, for the rest of their lives.

For some, this type of life can be adapted to, and they manage just fine by communicating to their carers and loved ones through blinking or other subtle ways. For others however, this way of life is unbearable, and they dream of the day where they are released from their body, and are free to live on in spirit, the way they are used to.

This is the case for Tony Nicklinson from Wiltshire in England. Tony, an ex-footballer, who is now 57 years old, suffered a paralysing stroke in 2005. Since his stroke, Tony has been unable to control any part of his body below his neck, and cannot speak, although his mind remains completely unaffected.

His wife, Jane, has remained by his side, and has been his full time carer, and has looked after him for the past seven years, 24 hours a day. Tony has conveyed to Jane that he is fed up with his life, and he doesn’t want to carry on living.

Legally, there is nothing that can be done for Tony, so in 2010, he asked the British High Court to declare that any doctor who kills him with his consent, will not be charged with murder. For this to be possible, The Ministry of Justice argued that the law on murder will have to be changed.

This would be a big feat, which may just be getting a little bit closer, as reports have come in this week that a judge has acknowledged the request may proceed.

Tony’s condition is currently stable, but in a strong stance to ensure that he doesn’t live any longer than he has to, he has been refusing, since 2007, to take any life prolonging medication, such as blood thinners and heart medications, which have been recommended to him by doctors.

If Tony’s request is passed, it will be the first case of its kind, to do so in Britain, and could mean a lot for others in similar situations.

Personally, I feel that our body is our own, and so should be our right to live or die. If this man feels so strongly about not wanting to live, despite still having his wife beside him, and I’m assuming all the love in the world from his family, then it seems to be a crime to keep him alive and suffering within his own body against his will.

It is a very touchy subject, which brings up many thoughts and emotions, but I believe that it is an issue that should be addressed.

Even though it is sad that this man doesn’t have the strength to carry on, I do hope for his sake, that he gets his wish.

If you’d like to read the original article on The Daily Telegraph news website, then click on this link: http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/world/right-to-die-case-can-proceed-in-uk/story-e6frev00-1226297979725


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