Aussie Quadriplegic Man Granted Right To Die: Aussie Seeks Willful Starvation

August 17, 2009
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An Aussie quadriplegic man has been granted right to die. The Aussie was granted the right to refuse food and water, and can be allowed to die. Read more here.

right to die





On Friday an Australian high court granted Christian Rossiter, a Christian Rossiter, the right to refuse food and water and can be allowed to die. Several for right-to-die campaigners see this ruling as a major victory.

In 1988 Rossiter suffered a series of injuries, which left him with limited foot movement and the ability to wriggle only one finger. He relies on staff at the Brightwater Care Group nursing facility for his daily routines that most of us take for granted. Christian is fed through a feeding tube, and needs assistance with cleaning, bowel movements. He also needs physical and occupational therapy and speech pathology.

While Australian law allows patients to refuse life saving treatments, aiding someone in suicide can result in a life prison sentence. With this ruling, the Brightwater nursing facility will not be held liable if Rossiter’s chooses to stop all nutrition and hydration, except to be given enough liquid to take pain medication.

Rossiter attended the hearing breathing through a tracheotomy tube in his throat, where he told the judge he wants to die. In a recent interview, Christian explained his daily pain.

“I can’t move. 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. This is living hell. I used to be a cyclist, I used to be a keen walker. I bushwalked around the world. … I’ve rock climbed in Yosemite Valley in California up very steep cliffs. I’ve got a degree in economics and now I can’t even read a newspaper, I can’t turn the pages.”

After the ruling, Rossiter said, “I’m happy that I won my right to die,” but added that he will also consult a doctor because he may change his mind.

What are your thoughts on this subject? Should a person have the choice to end their life prematurely in a situation life Christian’s? Tell us in the comments below.



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12 Responses to “Aussie Quadriplegic Man Granted Right To Die: Aussie Seeks Willful Starvation”

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  1. 1
    naomi Says:

    absolutely, it is a personal choice

  2. 2
    Bert Woodford Says:

    I do not understand society. We allow our pets to be put to sleep in order to stop thier suffering but we require a human to have to suffer in pain. I beleive that a person should have to the right to be put to sleep much like an animal if they wish to do so.

  3. 3
    Jared K. Says:

    Here where I live, we have a program where you get pain pills to cure your pain, as well as psychiatric counseling. All pains also have a psychiatric origin. You have to heal both. It is a common pain clinic and more cities need them. All pains can be healed by the Dr. Cheatles Pain Clinic. I simply do not understand how someone can “wish to die.” I love life. If I could not move one muscle in my body, I would still want to live. If someone in a nursing care facility has to clean me up after an accident, that is their job. That is what they get paid to do. I want to live and do not understand people who want to die. Maybe they have done drugs too much in their life and they are just talking smack, I do not know.

  4. 4
    Judy D. Says:

    I am a nurse who has seen the suffering. It should be the individuals right to decide.

  5. 5
    Janet Knowles Says:

    A person should have that right to choose. Some nursing homes don’t give the best care to a patient and if not cleaned properly, can sit in bed sores, infections and end up not to great. A person should defently have that right to choose life or death depending on there situation. This guy was in the right. I wish him the best.

  6. 6
    Michele Says:

    There is NO doubt that a person should have the right to determine whether or not they live. Right to die is a personal choice. For the person above that says they ‘simply do not understand how someone can “wish to die”‘ because THEY love life is so short sited it boggles my mind. Maybe that person ‘who loves life’ should live 1 month or 1 year in Chritian’s body. That person is happily typing away at a computer and lacks, not compassion, but reality.

  7. 7
    Louise Says:

    Absolutely – If there is no quality of life and the patient can only suffer, I feel it is the compassionate thing to do.

  8. 8
    Renee Says:

    If someone is coping with a permanent injury or illness and they are of sound mind, they absolutely have to right to make that choice. If a person is paralyzed, or has a terminal illness, we do not have the right to force that person to suffer indefinitely. If the problem is strictly mental or emotional and can be treated with medication and therapy then it should be (not cured, most mental illnesses cannot be cured, only treated), but a permanent physical illness or injury can destroy quality of life.

    As for Jared K… you can’t pass that kind of judgement or say with absolute certainty that you would no do the same thing in that position. Looking at a future of nothing but pain and helplessness, knowing you will never be able to do the things you love again, can change even the most fanatical certainty.

  9. 9
    Garth Says:

    Obviously Jared, you are in good health, or relatively good health, and able t move your body. If you want a drink you are able to go and get one. If you need to use the washroom you are able to feel you need to go and can get there. You are able even to wipe your own butt if need be!
    To tell a person or hint they have done drugs in thier lives and are talking smack is a cruel and thoughtless, ignorant thing to say.
    You have NO IDEA what it feels like to sit in a wheelchair all darn day long and have absolutely no movement whatsoever to get around except through a switch by your head to maneuver your chair. Even the most intimate thoughts you have and wish to write down aren’t intimate or personal … you need someone to write them because you can’t.
    You cannot say in all honesty …”even if I could not move one muscle in my body, I would still want to live.” You DONT live that way – you have NO idea what it’s like.
    I speak from experience. At the time of this reply my PSW (personal support worker) is here typing this reply for me. I am only 16, and am a quadrapelegic due to a freak accident in April while playing football at school. My cervical break was at c 3, c-4, c-5. At first I was able to breathe only through ventilation through my throat. I am now able to breathe without but it is VERY hard – especially in hot and muggy weather. I have NO movement below my shoulders. NOT EVEN A FINGER!!
    Where you also said and I quote :”If someone in a nursing care facility has to clean me up after an accident, that is their job” you need to understand something. Thats a BODILY function! Accident? It is no accident – EVERYONE voids and has bowel movements. The difference between us is that you can FEEL you have to go – we cant! You can wipe your own derriere – people like me or like Christian Rossiter have to wait for someone to wipe it for us! You have ANY idea how DEGRADING that feels?????
    Sit in a chair at your home for 24 hours. DONT move a muscle below your chest. Ask your wife, your children, mother or father to do everything for you – feed you – type letters for you, wipe ur butt when you have an “accident” as you say, scratch an itch when you feel it, offer you a glass of water, milk, pop, whatever and HOLD it for you without spilling all over you because darn you cant even manage a DRINK when you are thirsty! At bed or bathtime ask a family member to lift you out of your chair and onto a bath bench, or a chair in the shower stall / tub and wash you cause you cant do it. Ask them to crush your teeth for you – your hair, shave you cause you cant. Or worse, if all THAT isnt embarrassing enough … Say, “Excuse me … can you please blow and wipe my nose clean? I know its dirty and I need to blow but I CANT.”
    I guarantee you cannot survivie in the world I live in, and Christian lives in, and all the Christians in the world live in. Please don’t think for us and say you cannot understand how we feel sometimes. PRIOR to my accident I didn’t either; but I did and I do understand the right to live; and the right to die.
    This wasn’t meant to slam or to criticise you, Jared, but I think it is only fair that the next time you go off saying “All pains also have a psychiatric origin” and ” All pains can be healed by the Dr. Cheatles Pain Clinic” you need to check yourself!! My pain is as REAL as the post you submitted to this site and I live with it EVERY day – 1,440 minutes each day; 86,400 seconds each day; 365 days per year. 31,556,926 seconds per year.
    Finally, as for this comment: “Maybe they have done drugs too much in their life and they are just talking smack, I do not know.” Maybe YOU have taken too many drugs and thats why you feel you may judge another person without knowing anything about them!
    Just my 2 cents!

  10. 10
    elaine Says:

    Jared… you have NO idea what Christian endures 24-7.
    I am a nurse, with some knowledge about health care and the providers available.
    The best providers CANNOT improve the quality Christian once experienced because, it is measured by more than ones ability to breathe.
    Given the same circumstances, I would want the option for myself and those I truley love.

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