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Wednesday 26th October 2016

Australian quadriplegic man dies

21st September 2009

An Australia-based quadriplegic who had won the right to starve himself to death has died.


Christian Rossiter, age 49, died in a nursing home in the city of Perth.

Rossiter's lawyer John Hammond said that he was determined to travel to Swizerland to end his life in a euthanasia clinic if he had not died of a chest infection.

His brother Tim Rossiter said that he thanks all of the people who made Rossiter's life as comfortable and as dignified as possible.

Rossiter's death comes several weeks after a decision by the Australian Supreme Court which allowed him the right to die by starving himself.

Following two incidents which injured him gravely, Rossiter testified about his wish to die in court.

Hammond said that he believes there will be more patients that now have the conviction to ask their doctor or medical staff to stop treating them.

He said that he believes he ruling is not about euthanasia, but about giving dying people the right to refuse treatment.

Philip Nitschke, a euthanasia advocate who was in contact with the patient, said that in some ways the chest infection intervened and saved Rossiter from going down the painful route of self-starvation.

He said that Rossiter's path was a very difficult one.

Rossiter developed spastic quadriplegia after being hit by a car.

He said that it was comforting to him that when he said he was going to starve himself to death, no one would have the right to come along and keep him alive.

Australia's health minister Kim Hames said that Brightwater, Rossiter's caregivers, would have been legally obliged to protect their patient and bring him back from unconsciousness so that he could refuse food from them yet another time.

Rossiter was in the process of acquiring an Australian passport when he died.

Hammond said that, even after Rossiter won his court case, he would have still preferred to travel to Swizerland in order to end his life there legally.


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