Goodbye world tweet from ‘locked-in’ patient

Tony Nicklinson who campaigned for the right to die and recently lost his High Court battle for euthanasia has died. He had asked his family to tweet “Goodbye world the time has come, I had some fun“.

He had suffered a stroke in 2005 which left him with quadriplegia and loss of speech. Following the High Court ruling he refused to eat and drink and died just six days later.

In a recent conversation with Guardian journalist Elizabeth Day he said:

“Opponents of giving me the ability to choose life or death will tell you that it will fundamentally alter the doctor-patient relationship,” he wrote. “Why? The vast majority of a GP’s patients already have the ability to commit suicide so it’s the norm.”

His case highlights the continuing debate about assisted dying. Joan Smith of the Independent wrote:

“There’s a clear danger that ethical issues will get lost in this focus on a handful of tragic individuals; it’s also worth noting that doctors, who would be called on actively to end lives if the law were to be changed, oppose a change in the law.”

The BMA recently voted to reject a proposal to adopt a neutral stance on assisted dying.