Lauren Nicklinson: Why I want dad to be allowed to die

  • 16 August 2012
  • From the section Health
Tony and Lauren Nicklinson
Lauren Nicklinson says her dad Tony (left) has no quality of life

Lauren Nicklinson, 24, admits she's always been a bit of a "daddy's girl".

But in 2005, the relationship with her father Tony changed after he suffered a stroke and became paralysed from the neck down.

Tony, 58, has what's known as locked-in syndrome. His mind is fully alert but he can barely move and he needs 24-hour care.

He says he wants to die and has taken his case to the High Court, with the full support of his family.

'No quality of life'

But the High Court has decided it would be wrong to allow a doctor to help Tony end his life.

"Dad wants to die simply because he feels he has no quality of life," says Lauren.

"He's gone from a loud, active ex-rugby player to someone who's wheelchair bound who watches telly all day."

The case is complex but Tony Nicklinson had wanted a doctor to give him lethal drugs without that doctor then being prosecuted for murder.

Tony is disabled so he's not able to kill himself.

"It's not murder because it's consensual," says Lauren. "Dad's saying he wants to die. He's asking for it. He's giving consent."

Lauren, who lives in Bristol, said her dad's decision made sense to people who knew what his life was like before the stroke.

"The relationship we once had was based on doing things together, going out and having fun.

"We can't do any of that now. We have a tight bond but it's different now and from his perspective it's not just not enough."

Lauren's younger sister Beth, 23, has also been campaigning on behalf of her father.

"When we found out he wasn't going to recover and knew he was going to be locked in we knew he'd come to this decision.

"Lots of people lose their dads when they're in their nineties," adds Lauren. "It might just be that I lose my dad in his 50s or 60s."

Tony communicates with his family using a special computer which records his eye movement to select which letter he wants to use.

"It's his lifeline," says Lauren.

The Ministry of Justice and the British Medical Association, which represents doctors, have both supported the court's decision.

The Nicklinson family will now launch an appeal.