August 16th, 2012
11:31 AM ET

UK court rules against paralyzed man in 'right to die' case

A British man left paralyzed by a catastrophic stroke seven years ago lost his High Court battle Thursday to gain a legal right to end his life when he chooses.

Tony Nicklinson's condition means it is impossible for him to take his own life - and he wants the legal right to have a doctor take his life without fear of prosecution.

But while expressing sympathy for his situation, the High Court ruled that such a significant change to the law - involving overturning the ban on voluntary euthanasia - would have to be decided by lawmakers.

The judges also rejected a similar challenge to the law brought by a second man suffering locked-in syndrome, named only as Martin.

"The Court recognised that the cases raise profoundly difficult ethical, social and legal issues, but it judged that any change to the law must be a matter for Parliament to decide," a statement from the court said.

The ruling upset Nicklinson, who cried as his wife, Jane, told the waiting media that the family was "bitterly disappointed" and would file an appeal.

In the meantime, her husband will have to continue living as he is, or starve himself to death, she said.

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Filed under: Assisted suicide • Health • United Kingdom • World
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. banasy©

    I wholly sympathize with this gentleman's plight; my father was in the same position, and we, as a family, could not starve him to death.
    It was heartbreaking.
    The idea of euthanasia was never brought up so we didn't have to face that moral dilemma; still, it was horrible to see this once-vital man felled so...

    This man has been like this for seven years?
    My father was like that for two, and it seemed like a lifetime.

    My heart goes out to his family.

    August 16, 2012 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  2. Mary

    The value of everlasting life far outweighs any pain we experience in this life. Just take the life of job for an excellent example of a true child of God... one who was unwilling to curse him and one who was unwilling to take a life that wasn't his to take. Also note the times that job lived in, not many 'modern' conveniences in his day.
    I do feel for the mans pain, yet more so for his eternal life.

    August 16, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Portland tony

    Walk a mile in this man's shoes, then preach to me the values of everlasting life and pain. Every creature on "God's" earth has innate ability to find that shady spot next to a flowing river and lay down liforever except man!

    August 16, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mary

    @ Portland tony, As I said, I have compassion for his dilemma. Job of Bible had it much worse than this man and still stood firm with God. It's my choice to end my life, only Gods. Each of us was given that choice and this is mine.

    August 16, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • ceebee

      Mary, the key word here is choice. You have the right to choose for yourself, not for someone else who may not hold the same beliefs you do.

      August 22, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
  5. ronvan

    Definitely a sad situation! BUT once again, you can see that WE do not have much say so about our lives. How do WE know that this man has not, in his own way, prayed to his savior asking for guidance? HOW do we know how he feels and what he has to deal with on a daily basis? While I, personally, beleive that it is not in my saviors teaching to take your own life, there are ALWAYS EXCEPTIONS, and WE cannot make them for other people!

    August 16, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mary

    @ ronvan, Well stated. Exceptions is the only difference in our posts on this topic. Of course people will take exception with mine only.

    August 16, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Unity@ St Mary's

    No Mary, we take exception to yours. Report to Human Resources in the morning!!

    August 16, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mary

    Your obsession is showing.

    August 16, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Rascal Rabble

    about time the courts start to make the correct euthanasia...yipee-yah-yay! mr. nicklinson you are needed in the to teach this world compassion...i don't know why a wife would be sooo bitterly cashing in the insurance policy, eh???

    August 16, 2012 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
  10. fernace

    It's amazing that we can't die w/out the OK of a court of law!Our laws on this matter mirror those of the UK! This is a similar situation as Terri Schiavo's in the 90's! All sorts of politicos & religious organizations intruded themselves into that very private & personal situation! There needs to be a clause for those who, for whatever medical reason, are unwilling to live life in pain, or as a physical, emotional & financial drain on their families! It would be the humane thing to do!

    August 16, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rascal Rabble

      blinking, breathing, eating, responding terry schivo was brutally court ordered murdered...she didn't die in peace nor in her own was a painfully slow death...

      August 16, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rascal Rabble

      you'rrr promoting compassion of inconvenience and disregard...

      August 16, 2012 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
  11. God

    I respectfully disagree with the UK high court's assessment. He will in fact die, despite their ruling.

    August 16, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rascal Rabble Singin' Likah Dork

      at least he won't be put down like a dog in a kennel...and the person Whom called him into existence will be the One to call him out of existence..,

      August 17, 2012 at 12:53 am | Report abuse |
  12. fernace

    I would never choose to continue to be kept "alive" through a feeding tube, while my brain continued to atrophy to the point of nothing but basic reflexes, w/fluids filling up the void! Since I wouldn't be able to speak for myself, I'd hope my family would speak for me as Michael Schiavo did for Terry! My mom & I have discussed this subject & we've made a pact that we will speak for eachother if it becomes necessary! Neither of us want "heroic efforts" or "life sustaining" machinery! That's my choice! Rascal Rabble obviously has a different 1!!

    August 17, 2012 at 12:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Rascal Rabble Singin' Likah Dork

      you call a husband who abandon his wife in her greatest need and living with another woman without even looking back 'cept for the fame of killin' Oh, sooo you finally agreed gay is a choice...those advance directives are nothing buttah a fancy suicide note tellin' the hospital how to kill you...folks yah going to the hospital nottah gas chambers....

      August 17, 2012 at 1:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Rascal Rabble Singin' Likah Dork

      excuse me...i was entertaining on another

      August 17, 2012 at 1:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Rascal Rabble Singin' Likah Dork

      not to say that family members usually implement those directive based on patient's finances and estate rather than health interests...

      August 17, 2012 at 1:15 am | Report abuse |
  13. fernace

    As I said, Rascal Rabble Singin Likah Dork (caught your act on the other thread, bravissimo, encore!!), you have 1 opinion on the subject, I have another! I think sometimes it would be more dignified & humane for a human to have the option to be "put down like a dog," as you call it! We do that for pets we love because we want to end the suffering of a blind, deaf dog, suffering from dementia, who turns in cicles all day! Trust me when I say there are conditions worse than death, like the worst pain X 10 without relief, locked-in syndrome (mentioned in article), where you get to experience claustrophobia in your own body, or babies w/so many seisures per day they know nothing else! Why would a loving God want us to suffer like that before we die? I don't believe He would!!

    August 17, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  14. saeed

    god gave him life so only god can take his life there were a purpose to his existence so the judge did the right thing. god is beyond human understanding and comprehension god is unnoable hes beyond laws of physics and matimatics. hes beyond everything so to take this person life would be a bad thing what kind of monster would kill a person like tony one always helps people in need. abvious the pain tony is in touches anyone that sees it but it is not in any human power to decide his faith we humans cant put your self on gods throne.

    August 17, 2012 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |