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Commission on Dying’s ‘not radical enough’ – Melksham man
12:00pm Friday 13th January 2012 in News
A PARLYSED Melksham man who is campaigning for the right to end his life has expressed his disappointment with the recent report from the Commission on Assisted Dying.
In December 2010 Tony Nicklinson, 57, and his wife Jane gave evidence to the commission, which was funded by author Terry Pratchett and businessman Bernard Lewis.
Last week its 400- page report said the existing law on assisted suicide “is inadequate, incoherent and should not continue”.
However it recommended that only people with less than a year to live should be offered a choice to end their lives, which doesn’t apply in Mr Nicklinson’s case.
Mr Nicklinson suffers from ‘locked-in’ syndrome, following a stroke in 2005.
He cannot talk or move, except for his head and eyes, and is taking a legal challenge to the High Court for a doctor to be allowed to kill him without facing murder charges.
It is illegal to help someone to die in England and Wales, but Mr Nicklinson could not commit suicide without help.
He regards his life as lacking dignity and considers it intolerable, but does not want anyone to risk prosecution by helping him to die.
Mr Nicklinson, a former businessman who has two adult daughters, said: “I am disappointed that the commission felt unable to do anything for those people who don’t have any say in the determination of their own lives, choosing instead to help the terminally ill who, by definition, are going to die anyway and the vast majority of whom can take their own lives already if they choose to do so.
“That is not to say that the terminally ill don’t deserve a decent death, because they do.
“It took a whole year of taking evidence to arrive at conclusions which could have been lifted from the Dignity in Dying website for free.
“I was expecting something far more radical from the commission than assisted dying for the terminally ill.
“The best that can be said about the Commission’s conclusions is that they are a step in the right direction, but overall it was a spectacular missed opportunity.”
Mr and Mrs Nicklinson are waiting to hear when their challenge will be heard in the High Court.
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