Locked-In, In More Ways Than One

The chances are that you’ve already heard of the case being put forward by the family of 58-year-old Tony Nicklinson. Tony suffers from a syndrome known as locked-in syndrome. This syndrome arose due to the fact that he had a stroke that left him paralysed everywhere, but his mind still functions perfectly.

As a result of his injuries, he can now only communicate through a special computer. This computer monitors his eye movements and allows him to speak. The case being put forward is that he wants it to be made legal for a doctor to allow him to die, but the government has said that this will authorise murder.

Tony Nicklinson

Tony Nicklinson

On one hand, the government is right. Such a system would be open to corruption from dodgy doctors and those who would happily kill off ailing relatives in an attempt to claim what they have without waiting. Yes, this corruption would be there, but it’s also something that has to be worked around. You can’t just accept that nothing can be done about corruption. You can’t just accept this and refuse to implement a better system because of it.

What the government is essentially doing is condemning Mr. Nicklinson to years and years of misery at the hands of locked-in syndrome. And make no mistake, he’s not ill. What irritates him is the fact that he’s still perfectly healthy and he will live for years and years to come. And he will have to live like that for the rest of his life. That’s why he wants to die, but why shouldn’t he be allowed to die? Switzerland has a system where people can get doctors to kill them, a process known as euthanasia.

We have the basic human right that we have a right to life, so surely we also have the right to die? I’m quite frankly sick of the rubbish from the past that says that every life is sacred. No, it’s not. Life is not sacred. It’s just a life like every other animal on the planet. They are our lives. And our lives are something that we should be able to end if we feel like it. Suicide is now legal under the Suicide Act of 1961, and with the excellent safeguards against malpractice in euthanasia other countries have in place, it is an antiquated idea that it should be illegal. It’s unfair and it’s just plain wrong. It’s almost as if it’s admitting that the government has control over our lives.

This case of locked-in syndrome comes just after another case where an anorexic woman from Wales, who wanted to die, ended up in court. The terrifying thing is that even though the woman wished to die, the judge ruled against her and declared that she must be force-fed to prevent her death.

Now we are not only avoiding the issue, we are actively working against it.