Tony Nicklinson died this morning. [see earlier facebook entries]. A high court ruling refused to allow him ‘physician assisted suicide’ last week. After the ruling he refused food and subsequently fell ill with pneumonia and died. He had said that a ‘doctor assisted suicide would be more dignified and involve less pain than deliberately starving himself which was what he did in the end.
As this case and the Jehovahs’ Witness case shows respect for patient autonomy means that a competent person can refuse treatment. However autonomy does not extend to people having the ‘right to die’ with a doctors help in this country.
Tony Nicklinson was a very brave and articulate man who fought for a major change in the law. He failed in this but he has succeeded in making us all think and question what is morally right.