Friday, November 14, 2014

UK High Court Allows Mother to Euthanize Severely Disabled Daughter

The decision by a United Kingdom High Court judge to allow a British mother to legally euthanize her 12-year-old daughter, who was suffering from a host of non-life threatening disabling disorders, is drawing strong criticism from many disability advocates who say the decision sets a dangerous precedent that will allow guardians of other disabled people to do the same.

In August, Charlotte Fitzmaurice Wise legally authorized the euthanasia of her daughter, Nancy, after she successfully petitioned the U.K. High Court to allow her to end her daughter's pain and misery.

Nancy, who was born blind and diagnosed with hydrocephalus, meningitis and septicaemia, suffered constant pain and was never able to talk, walk, eat or drink on her own. Her condition required 24-hour hospital care, where she could only be fed, hydrated and medicated through tubes.

The burden of Nancy's illness caused Charlotte to quit her nursing job so she could be devoted full time to supporting her daughter. But when Nancy's agony became too much, and pain killing measures like morphine stopped numbing the pain, Charlotte issued a plea to the high court. Justice Eleanor King empathized with the mother and granted her request to end her daughter's life because she ruled that Nancy had no quality of life.

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