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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Whose Life Is It, Anyway?

Tony Nicklinson, before a stroke left him paralyzed and speechless

Do take a few minutes to read up on the case of Tony Nicklinson, a 58 year-old-Briton who was paralyzed from the neck down after suffering a stroke in 2005, although his mind was unaffected.  He could communicate only by blinking his eyes and grunting.  Doctors said that with proper care, he could expect to live another 20 or 30 years in this condition. 

Antother pre-stoke photo of Tony and his wife, Jane

Last week, a British court refused his plea to be allowed to escape from a "dull, miserable, demeaning, undignified and intolerable" life - which in your Head Trucker's view is a fate much, much worse than death.  Nicklinson rejected all arguments based on religious principles, because he was an atheist. 

After the crushing verdict, Tony refused food and mercifully died of pneumonia just six days later.

Don't think it can't happen to you, or to someone you dearly love.  I can't bear to go into the story of my mother's death, but suffice it to say that the doctors and nurses allowed her final agony to go on for more than three days of screaming in unbearable pain.  And they didn't turn a hair.  Because they like their very lucrative jobs much more than they care about human suffering; and because behind them are boards and committees and commissions and all sorts of layers of nameless, faceless people who make rules to regulate everybody's else's life and death.

And somewhere at the end of that long, untraceable chain is some fat, self-satisfied churchy person, purring with righteousness, who keeps saying oh-so-sweetly, "Well I just don't think it's right."

Well, you fellas will understand more about all that when you have to face it, as you very well may one day.  And don't think you, or the person you love best in all the world, will escape all the tortures that medical science can devise, just because you say pretty please. Fow now, though, please have a look at Tony's story:

A talk with Tony and his wife filmed by a BBC reporter last year:

Twitter interview with Tony, who answers both supporters and opponents:
Tony Nicklinson: 'I have a fear of living like this when I am old and frail'

Editorial in The Guardian:
Tony Nicklinson: What a Tragic Story Tells Us

By Peter Stanford, former editor of the Catholic Herald:
How an extraordinary day spent with Tony Nicklinson changed my views on right-to-die


Davis said...

It's hard for me to know what to say. May he rest in peace.

Unknown said...

That has always been my greatest fear...nightmare....God thats scares me.....me rest in the arms of God

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