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Man paralysed from neck down seeks right to die

A man paralysed from the neck down following a car accident is bringing his case to the Supreme Court to ask for permission to allow him the right to die, reports the Daily Mail.

Paul Lamb, 58, was left paralysed from the neck down by a car accident back in 1990 when he was 35 years old. The accident left him immobile from the neck down, although he retains some limited movement in his right hand and experiences significant pain.

Mr Lamb is joined in his action by Jane Nicklinson, widow of the late Tony Nicklinson. Mr Nicklinson died of bronchopneumonia in August 2012, after losing his Court of Appeal case requesting the right to die.

Mr Nicklinson was left totally paralysed by a massive stroke, which gave him a 'locked-in syndrome', in which he was totally conscious but completely unable to move. He died after stopping food and fluids, soon after he learnt that the Court of Appeal had dismissed his case.

Mr Lamb and Mrs Nicklinson will ask nine Supreme Court justices to rule that those suffering from severe physical disability be allowed the right to ask a willing medical professional to help them die.

At the moment it is illegal for any medical professional to assist someone in dying, and it is also illegal for them to give advice on such matters.

As a result, some who are able head to the Dignitas Clinic in Switzerland, where assisted suicide is allowed by law and is available for a fee.

Mr Lamb will argue that a wounded animal or pet is given more dignity in dying that a human being under the current legislation. Mrs Nicklinson describes the situation her husband found himself in, desperate to end his own suffering but physically unable to do so, as 'uncivilised'.

Speaking outside the court, Mr Lamb said: "A change in the law would mean more to me than a million dollars. A change in the law would be a massive step in the right direction."

The Court of Appeal rejected Mr Nicklinson's arguments, saying that no judge could determine the law of the land on matters of life and death. The Court of Appeal judges, who included the Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge and the Master of the Rolls Lord Dyson, said that it was a matter for Parliament to decide with a change in the law.