Australian quadriplegic granted “permission” to starve himself to death – UPDATED

An Australian high court ruled Friday that a quadriplegic man has the right to refuse food and water and can be allowed to die, a rare legal finding that some see as a major victory for right-to-die campaigners.

The ruling means that the nursing facility in which Christian Rossiter has lived since November 2008 cannot be held criminally liable for allowing the patient to die, the Supreme Court of Western Australia said…

Chief Justice Wayne Martin noted…in his order, saying, “This is a case in which a person with full mental capacity and the ability to communicate his wishes has indicated that he wishes to direct those who have assumed responsibility for his care to discontinue the provision of treatment which maintains his existence…”

Australian law gives patients the right to refuse life-saving treatment, but helping someone commit suicide is a crime that can carry a life prison sentence. The Brightwater nursing facility sought the ruling to make sure it would not be held liable if it complied with Rossiter’s request to stop all nutrition and hydration, except to be given enough liquid to make it possible to take pain medication.

Rossiter attended the hearing in a wheelchair, breathing through a tracheotomy tube in his throat. He told the judge he wants to die…

“I can’t move,” Rossiter said in a televised interview this week. “I can’t even wipe the tears from my eyes. And I’d like to die. I’m imprisoned in my own body. I have no fear of death. Just pain.”

Rossiter pointed out in a recent interview with the PerthNow news outlet that he once led an active life.

“It’s a bit sad that the best that Australia can come up with,” Dr. Nitschke said, “is that we can let a person like that starve to death.”

They don’t even have a proper Death Panel in Oz – to satisfy the Australian flavor of Palin loonie.

I agree – of course – with Dr. Nitschke that it’s a shame this brave man can’t choose an easier method to shuffle off this mortal coil. Religious crackpots work very hard at taking away any shred of dignity one might associate with your own death – having to rescue your medical attendants in advance of the Christian juggernaut.

UPDATE: Christian Rossiter has died.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.