What Matters? 2

Mimi ON Jul 23, 2010 AT 10:18 am

Tony Nichlinson

Tony Nichlinson

Who has the right to decide to live or die?

Tony Nicklinson wants to end his life. After a stroke in 2005, the 56 year old suffers from locked in syndrome. He cannot speak and has to communicate to his wife through nodding.


Mr Nicklinson wants his wife to help him die. This raises a very difficult and sensitive issue. According to the law in the UK if she did this, his wife who is dedicated to looking after him would surely be liable for prosecution for murder? In a murder prosecution, the assailant takes the victim’s life against the will of the victim. 

However, Mr Nicklinson has made it clear that his wife would not be going against his will. So, is this case different? As far as I understand it, he is consenting to his own death and asking his wife to act in his best interests. 

Mr Nicklinson’s legal team are now seeking a judicial review on the clarity of the law on the right to die.
I feel so much sympathy and empathy for Mr Nicklinson. I can’t even begin to imagine what Mr Nicklinson and his wife must be going through. This poor, poor man is living a tortured and agonising life. His pain is clear to see, in a statement he said “I need help in every aspect of my life. I have no privacy or dignity left.” 

I think after the Debbie Purdy case, the law now needs to be re-assessed. No one can even begin to imagine what Mr Nicklinson and his wife are going through. People and their loved ones who are living with this feel and battle with the pain on a minute by minute basis. They should have the right to make the right decision for them, not heed to a law that desperately needs revising. 

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