And then deliver your verdict. Throughout our lives we all have to make decisions, some are good and some are bad. We learn to live with our failures and we enjoy the most pleasurable moments in life. Some may be rolling in money, whilst others live on the breadline, but money doesn’t buy happiness. What buys happiness, is the love of others and your health.
There can be nothing worse than being compos mentis (of sound mind) living day to day with a body that doesn’t work. To have an active mind and remember things of what you did in the past and living with the stark reality of knowing you will never be able to do those things again, must be like living a nightmare and never waking up, along with the frustrations of knowing you have to rely on others to care for you.
At 18 we can go and sign up and be put on the front-line of Afghanistan, only to have our lives wiped out due to bullet or a roadside bomb. At 18 we can hit the pub and drink until we are so drunk we are totally incapable of our actions. At 18 we can marry and vote. We can make all these decisions, because we are classed as compos mentis and adult enough to make those decisions.
My god even at 16 we can have sex and bring another life into this world, a life that is solely dependent upon us. A life that can’t fend for itself and a life that needs nurturing and guidance along with lots of love and oodles of cuddles.
But one decision that is denied us is the right to say, I don’t want to live any more when our bodies fail or we have a debilitating disease that has no cure and a disease that is progressive and the only outlook facing us is yet more agony and suffering. The right to say I don’t want to live in a broken body and rely on people to care for me. A right to say, enough is enough.
Over the last two days, I have been reading and listening to Tony Nicklinson who has locked-in syndrome and wants the right to choose where and when he will die. Tony Nicklinson said back in March:
“I have locked-in syndrome and I can expect no cure or improvement in my condition as my muscles and joints seize up through lack of use. Indeed, I can expect to dribble my way into old age.
“If I am lucky I will acquire a life-threatening illness such as cancer so that I can refuse treatment and say no to those who would keep me alive against my will.
“By all means protect the vulnerable; by vulnerable I mean those who cannot make decisions for themselves. Just don’t include me. I am not vulnerable. I don’t need help or protection from death or those who would help me.”
This week the court were told by Tony via email the following:
‘It is misery created by the accumulation of lots of things which are minor in themselves but, taken together, ruin what’s left of my life.
‘I can’t tell you how significant it would be in my life, or how much peace of mind I would have, just knowing that I can determine my own life instead of the state telling me what to do – staying alive regardless of my wishes or how much suffering I have to tolerate until I die of natural causes.
‘I cannot scratch if I itch, I cannot pick my nose if it is blocked and I can only eat if I am fed like a baby – only I won’t grow out of it, unlike the baby.
‘I am washed, dressed and put to bed by carers who are, after all, still strangers. You try defecating to order while suspended in a sling over a commode and see how you get on.’
Tony Nicklinson has taken to twitter this last week to speak about his ordeal. He communicates with a special computer and by nodding and blinks. Yes there are some on twitter who want Tony to think again about ending his life. But do we have a right to say you must live a life of suffering.
As for myself, whatever Tony decides, he is compos mentis, he does know that once he has decided to his life and taken whatever medication needed to end his life there will never be a way out option. He knows the full consequences of his actions and therefore any Judge before giving verdict, should put themselves in Tony’s shoes and understand that this is a sane man saying I don’t want to carry on like this and should pass judgement that gives Tony what he so wants, when he wants it, a dignified death.
Good luck Tony… I hope and pray that you receive the outcome from this court case which you so want.