So Tony Nicklinson has died. He fought for the right to have his ‘locked-in’ life terminated, but lost the case. After that, he stopped eating, and developed pneumonia, which I assume was not treated.
Such a sad, tragic story. My heart and my prayers go out to his family and indeed to all those who feel that they are up against a brick wall with nowhere to go.
It again raises the whole subject of whether euthanasia, and assisted suicide, can ever be ethically acceptable. It is a very complex subject with so much to consider, and I doubt that it’s possible to reach a conclusion on which everyone might agree.
People like Tony would never have survived in past times. He lived as long as he did by depending on the huge strides in medicine that have developed more recently. It is the job of the medical profession to save life, not destroy it.
But it brings to my mind some words of the poet Arthur Hugh Clough:
‘Thou shalt not kill; but need’st not strive
Officiously to keep alive’
from his poem ‘The Last Decalogue’.
But should that line be drawn? And if so, where? And who should decide?
(photo from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-19341722 )