Australia Man Wins Right to Starve Himself to Death, Could Lead to Assisted Suicide

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 17, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Australia Man Wins Right to Starve Himself to Death, Could Lead to Assisted Suicide

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
August 17
, 2009

Perth, Australia (LifeNews.com) — An Australian man has won the legal right to starve himself to death in a court decision that could someday lead to making the nation the next to legalize assisted suicide. Christian Rossiter became a quadriplegic after an automobile accident and now he wants to end his life.

Rossiter was an active sportsman before the accident and now he says he finds life unbearable and says he can’t wipe away his tears or blow his nose.

His attorneys filed a lawsuit in court in the state of Western Australia asking to be given permission to have all food and water stopped at the nursing home where he is currently receiving care.

He said his last wish is to be given painkillers and a sleeping pill and to be able to watch television so "time would pass" as his life faded away.

"I want to say that the painkillers make me drowsy and I would like to be made drowsy in my final moments so the time would pass more quickly," he said, according to a London Daily Mail report.

Chief Justice Wayne Martin said the Brightwater Care nursing home must follow his wishes but added that anyone who followed through would not be held criminally responsible.

The ruling sets a legal precedent because assisted suicide is currently prohibited in Australia, but the case opens the door to allowing it.

The Daily Maid said Judge Martin indicated Rossiter had the right to determine if he wanted to stop food and water and they "should not be administered against his wishes."

Rossiter told the court that he had considered going to one of the suicide tourism centers in Switzerland but worried that it would take considerable time for the arrangements to be made.

"I’m Christian Rossiter and I’d like to die," he told reporters after the decision. "I am a prisoner in my own body. I can’t move."

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