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Paralyzed Briton Wins Right to Euthanasia

Published: 12/03/2012 09:18:58 PM GMT
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LONDON - A British court has allowed a severally paralyzed man to proceed with his “right-to-die” case to seek a doctor's help to put an end to his life. It's been quite stressful waiting for this decision,” Jane, the wife (more)

LONDON - A British court has allowed a severally paralyzed man to proceed with his “right-to-die” case to seek a doctor's help to put an end to his life.

"It's been quite stressful waiting for this decision,” Jane, the wife of Tony Nicklinson, told the BBC News Online on Monday, March 12.

"It's really good to know that the judge thinks that we have a case that needs to be argued."The High Court in London ruled that Nicklinson, who suffers from locked-in syndrome following a stroke in 2005, can continue his legal fight to ensure that a doctor who kills him would not face murder charges.

Islam's Stance on EuthanasiaEuthanasia: Types and Rulings

"The only way to relieve Tony's suffering will be to kill him,” his wife said before the ruling.

“There is absolutely nothing else that can be done for him.”

Nicklinson is now totally paralyzed and only communicates through the use of an electronic board or special computer.

Nicklinson has said he seeks to kill himself because his life was "dull, miserable, demeaning, undignified and intolerable".

But the Ministry of Justice has opposed the case on the ground that it would authorize murder and change the law governing it.

But the judge ruled that Nicklinson can proceed with his case to win legal protection for the judge who would kill him.

The ruling means that the “right-to-die” case will go to a full hearing, where medical evidence can be heard.

Following his ruling, the judge said the case raises “questions that have great social, ethical and religious significance and they are questions on which widely differing beliefs and views are held, often strongly".

He said the issues before him only related to whether Nicklinson's arguments "have any real prospect of success or whether there is some other compelling reason why these proceedings should be tried".


Nicklinson's family argued that patients should have the right to end their life if there is no hope in their recovery.

"I'm delighted that the issues surrounding assisted dying are to be aired in court,” Nicklinson's wife said in a statement on BBC Radio.

“Politicians and others can hardly complain with the courts providing the forum for debate if the politicians continue to ignore one of the most important topics facing our society today.

"It's no longer acceptable for 21st Century medicine to be governed by 20th Century attitudes to death."

Nicklinson himself welcomed the court ruling.

"I will be able to access a doctor when the time is right," he said when asked what he hoped would happen next.

"I can just about cope with life at the moment, but not forever."

Euthanasia is allowed in a number of European countries, including Belgium and Switzerland, but it is illegal in Britain.

But an inquiry recommended in January that lawmakers should consider changing the law to let doctors help some terminally ill people end their lives.

Britain has more members of Dignitas, the Swiss assisted dying organization, than any other country except Germany, according to figures released by the group in January.

More than 180 Britons have ended their lives in Dignitas' clinic since the group was set up in 19.

In Islam, euthanasia, which involves the act of ending the life of an individual suffering from a terminal illness or an incurable condition, is forbidden as a major sin.

As for the suspension of medical treatment via preventing the patient from his due medication which is, from a medical perspective, thought to be useless, this is permissible and sometimes it is even recommended.Thus, the physician can do this for the sake of the patient's comfort and the relief of his family.

Reproduced with permission from