“I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul”
When he was 18 Tony Nicklinson suffered an injury playing sports, he thought nothing of it. However in 2005 while in Athens a blood clot that formed many years ago caused a massive stroke completely removing in one fell swoop Tony’s life.
He now exists in a state known as “locked in” his only interaction is through blinking and he has described his life as undignified, distressing and intolerable. Tony now has only one wish, to be allowed to end his torment with dignity, and not prolong the “agonizing torture” he has experienced for 7 years.
Today that decision was cruelly denied to him. Sitting in the high court three justices empathised with him, describing his situation as “deeply moving” before handing down the cruellest life sentence. Of course there were some who were pleased, speaking after the judgement Paul Tully of SPUC Pro-Life said that “Compassion and solidarity are the humane and caring responses to locked-in syndrome.” Something tells me that Mr Tully isn’t in the same situation as Tony.
This case was destined to fail, it’s a sad indictment of our law that a person can’t determine their own fate without those who help ease the pain face prison, yet they can travel to Switzerland and do it there and any charge is dismissed for “cost reasons.” The logic of the judges is sound, any change to the law has to come from Parliament, however the time for that change has to be now.
Tony and others deserve to have their last moments in dignity surrounded by family not starved and in agony.