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Should Tony Nicklinson be given the right to die?

(19 Posts)
Greatnan Sun 18-Mar-12 10:09:35

I can't imagine anything worse than his situation - he has 'locked-in' syndrome and whilst he is completely conscious he cannot move anything but his eyes and he communicates by blinking at letters on a computer.
He wants to ask his doctor to kill him without fear of prosecution.
There was an article in The Catholic Herald that nearly made me throw my computer across the room. One sanctimonious prig said Tony and his family should accept the situation as an opportunity to show family unity and reflect the interdependence of all people. It reminded me of those people who say that a handicapped child is given to a family by god so they can show their devotion.
Tony could live in a state of humiliation and boredom for another 30 years. There is no chance that his condition will improve. There is no way he can kill himself, other than by refusing food and drink, which would result in a very slow and painful death.

bagitha Sun 18-Mar-12 10:49:20

I think someone should be allowed to help him die without being prosecuted.

BlueSky Sun 18-Mar-12 10:56:56

Of course there should be legislation to deal with cases like this, after all we have legislation regulating abortion!

crimson Sun 18-Mar-12 11:30:24

We wouldn't let a dog suffer like this, would we?

goldengirl Sun 18-Mar-12 11:59:07

How does he differ from Stephen Hawking? Is he getting enough support from outside bodies. Stephen Hawking is stimulated by his active brain and he's getting support and encouragement from those around which must give him some feeling of worth. I wonder what Tony Dickinson's situation is.

greenmossgiel Sun 18-Mar-12 12:05:38

Yes, Tony Dickinson should have the right to die. This man knows exactly what he wants - he has lived a really active life, holding down a responsible job until he suffered a massive stroke. He is desperate. The beseeching expression in this man's eyes tells it all.

bagitha Sun 18-Mar-12 12:26:37

Is the name not Nicklinson?

The difference between him and Hawking is that Nicklinson has stated that he wants to die. Hawking hasn't. It's quite a large difference.

Greatnan Sun 18-Mar-12 12:38:07

Sorry, Nicklinson it is.
There is no comparison between his condtion and that of Stephen Hawking. Please google the name and read the desperate plea he has made to be allowed to die.
There is no support that anybody can give him that will lesson his nightmare. He has to be fed through a tube, hung in a sling to defecate, washed and changed like a baby.
It makes me feel claustrophobic just to think of being unable to move a muscle - 'locked in' really describes his plight.

MrsJamJam Sun 18-Mar-12 12:44:44

Of course he should be allowed to ask a sympathetic medical professional to assist him in dying, if that is his decision.

We must all dread finding ourselves in this situation, and if our own religious beliefs mean that we do not see suicide as an option for ourselves, that does not allow any of us to impose our religious beliefs on another who does not share them.

Butternut Sun 18-Mar-12 12:45:01

If someone can afford Tony Nicklinson the means to die, without being prosecuted, then that is a real gift.

Regarding legislation. There can be no absolute legislation for or against, nor inbetween - each case needs to be addressed individually.

Greatnan Sun 18-Mar-12 12:58:18

Unfortunately, I fear the religious lobby will try to bring pressure to bear to prevent any legislation that might help in such extreme circumstances. We will hear, again, that god gives life and only god can take it away as we heard when the proposal was first made to decriminalise attempted suicide. No doubt the bishops in the House of Lords will put in their two penn'orth.

yogagran Sun 18-Mar-12 20:07:51

Yes, I believe that he should have the right to decide on his own destiny. As he logically points out he would have been legally able to commit suicide if he was not disabled. It's a tragic case and my sympathy goes out to his wife and daughters

youngmeldrew Wed 18-Apr-12 11:25:34

Re; Tony Nicklinson.
Sorry this post is late but being new I have been doing the background reading. I followed this case with considerable interest when it was current.
The situation as I understand it, is that the family are faced with a court case(with associated cost and emotional trauma) in order to absolve helpers from prosecution. This is deemed necessary because Mr unable, by virtue of his condition, to initiate the final act of suicide entirely by himself.
In my view this is not the case. using a computer by word selection with eye movement which is all under his personal control. It is technically therefore very easy for a competent software engineer to program the machine so as to provide outputs to control electrically powered injection equipment. This is how computers control machines. The screen would show a set of 3 or 5 button icons which are click in sequence by eye within a time window.
Safeguards: more than one so it can't be done accidentally; the time window allows a change of mind if he wishes. Result: he is in control of the final act so no one is prosecuted.
He may still need to go to Dignitas to do it legally himself!
My dilemma is how to let his legal team know about it!

bagitha Wed 18-Apr-12 12:57:16

meldrew, I'm impressed! Is there no way you can find out which legal firm is dealing with his family?

youngmeldrew Wed 18-Apr-12 15:30:02

I would have no idea where to start-- a bit useless like that I'm afraid.I did wonder if the Queen of Gransnet could point her press contacts in that direction?

Riverwalk Wed 18-Apr-12 17:43:38

Meldrew, it may be technically very easy to 'control electrically powered injection equipment' but who is going to insert the intravenous cannula into his vein and load the drugs into the syringe?

Anagram Wed 18-Apr-12 17:56:06

And if he might still have to go to Dignitas anyway, would there be any point in setting up such a complicated system?

granjura Wed 18-Apr-12 17:56:13

Must say I feel very privileged to live in a country where that choice would be open to me, and my family protected. And where, if ever I find myself in that situation, I would be able to get help in my own home, surrounded by my loved ones, rather than have to travel abroad to some horrible concrete block on an industrial estate. All measures are taken to ensure that there is no pressure from family or other parties, and I totally trust the system. I live in Switzerland, and have been a member of Exit for some years now.
Several of my UK friends have already asked if they could come over to stay with us should they ever find themselves in that dreadful predicament. You can be a member of Exit irrespective of nationality, as long as you are resident here.

greenmossgiel Wed 18-Apr-12 17:58:31

I've just realised I called this gentleman 'Tony Dickinson'. I'm sorry about that.