Case study - Tony Nicklinson

Tony Nicklinson, a man with a condition called locked-in syndrome, who fought for the right to legally end his life, died on 22 August 2012.

The 58 year old was paralysed from the neck down after suffering a stroke in 2005 and described his life as a 'living nightmare'. In the week before his death, Mr Nicklinson lost his High Court case to allow doctors to end his life. From that point he refused food.

Mr Nicklinson had said he was heartbroken by the High Court decision that he could not end his life at a time of his choosing with the help of a new doctor. He had thought that his legal argument would succeed but conceded that he had forgotten about the emotional component to what he was asking.

Mr Nicklinson had made an advanced directive in 2004 refusing any life-sustaining treatment.

For reflection and discussion

  • What advice do you think a Roman Catholic priest would have given Tony Nicklinson?
  • Explain how Christian teachings and principles could support the use of euthanasia in Tony Nicklinson's case.
  • Explain how Christian teachings and principles could reinforce arguments against the use of euthanasia in Tony Nicklinson's case.
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