Human Exceptionalism

Tony Nicklinson Dies Naturally

Tony Nicklinson, the totally paralyzed man in the UK who lost his court quest to be legally euthanized, has died of pneumonia. From the Yahoo News story:

A man left paralysed but fully conscious and aware of his predicament died Wednesday, days after losing a legal bid to end his life of “pure torture”, his lawyers and family said. Tony Nicklinson, 58, who had locked-in syndrome after suffering a stroke on a business trip to Athens in 2005, died of natural causes, his family said.

On August 16, High Court judges dismissed his legal plea for the right to die, unanimously ruling that it would be wrong to depart from a precedent that equates voluntary euthanasia with murder. After the verdict Nicklinson broke down in tears, saying he was “devastated” by the decision. Nicklinson’s family said Wednesday that he died peacefully at their home in Melksham, western England, at 10:00 am (0900 GMT) following a rapid deterioration in his health after contracting pneumonia. Wiltshire Police said they were not involved in dealing with the death and neither was the coroner, suggesting it was not suspicious.

Everyone could understand and empathize with his anguish and pain.  But the request to be killed didn’t just involve him.  And as I mentioned in my last post on this very sad case, if death remained his goal, he was not “powerless” toward that end as he feared, having every right to refuse life-sustaining treatment if he became ill.  That appears to be what happened.

But we must take a moment to ponder the moment. Controversies are over. Arguments are passed. A good man has died and the world is poorer for it.  May he find joy, peace, and rest in the whatever comes next.

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