Paul Lamb has been almost completely paralyzed for more than 20 years of his 58 years, and he’s had enough. In the latest right to die debate to hit the U.K., Lamb has joined forces with the family of “locked-in” syndrome sufferer Tony Nicklinson — whose waged a public battle to end his life and died last August after his petition for assisted suicide was rejected. ”In my mind the severely disabled are being blatantly discriminated against,”Nicklinson’s wife told BBC Breakfast. ”Why shouldn’t they have the same rights as everyone else? There would obviously be huge safeguards put in place so that people are protected.”
In a statement made to the court, Lamb said he has been in pain for 23 years and needs 24-hour care. Because he is so extensively paralyzed, he would need a doctor’s assistance to end his life. But any such assistance would be considered as homicide, according to BBC legal correspondent Clive Coleman. Lamb claims that he is not depressed and just wants to end his life in a dignified way, with his loved ones around him, reports the BBC.
In response to Lamb’s appeal, an anti-euthanasia group, Care Not Killing, said in a statement: “We must not allow ourselves to be swayed by his tragic personal circumstances into welcoming a legal change that would have such dangerous repercussions for so many vulnerable elderly and disabled people.”
A British court will hear Lamb’s and Nicklinson’s cases next month. The BBC reports that Lamb is asking for a judicial ruling that any doctor who killed him would have a defense of acting to stop intolerable suffering. In England, assisted suicide is illegal and those convicted can be sentenced up to 14 years in prison.
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