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Thursday 27th October 2016

Right-to-die bid lost

17th August 2012

The British Medical Association has welcomed a High Court ruling that saw a man paralysed from the neck down lose his battle to allow doctors to end his life without fear of prosecution.

The doctors’ organisation said it was the right decision.

However, Tony Nicklinson, 58, who communicates by blinking and has described his life as a living nightmare since a stroke in 2005, is planning to appeal against the ruling.

Father-of-two Mr Nicklinson from Wiltshire, who was left paralysed with locked-in syndrome after a stroke while on a business trip to Athens, said he was devastated by the court’s decision.

“I am saddened that the law wants to condemn me to a life of increasing indignity and misery,” he added.

But Dr Tony Calland from the BMA’s medical ethics committee said: “The BMA does not believe that it would be in society's best interests for doctors to be able to legally end a patient’s life.

“The BMA is opposed to the legalisation of assisted dying and we are not lobbying for any change in the law in the UK.”

In explaining the decision, Lord Justice Toulson, said that to do what Mr Nicklinson wanted would see the court making a major change in the law.

Professor John Saunders of the Royal College of Physicians said: '”This is not about the right-to-die, this is about a right to enable a third party to actively terminate his life for him.”

The court ruling was welcomed by the group SPUC Pro-Life.


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