Imprisoned in his own body


The case of Tony Nicklinson, a British who suffered from a stroke suffered from the Incarceration Syndrome, made me think about the comparison between voluntary euthanasia described by Kovács MJ (2003) as the action that causes death when there is an explicit request Of the patient, and the right over the body itself when we find ourselves in a healthy life situation. If we have the right to do with our body what we want when in a healthy situation, why do we lose that right when we find ourselves in a sickness situation, whether it is terminal or extremely limiting as in Tony’s case? Even though the limiting condition is not causing pain, the human suffering of surviving imprisoned in one’s own body, dependent on everything and unable to accomplish what was once the meaning of one’s life, may be greater than physical pain. Kovács correlates the dilemmas that permeate euthanasia, dysthanasia and assisted suicide with the triad of bioethics (autonomy, beneficence and justice) and through his explanation, I understood that denying a request for voluntary death is to disrespect the principle of autonomy, justice and, Also, that of beneficence because to let him live in this situation is not to do good. Unfortunately, after being denied the right to euthanasia legally, Tony chose to end his life by running out of food, dying from complications of pneumonia in a slow, painful and unworthy way for himself and his family.

Kovács M.J., Bioethics oncerning life and death, Psicol.USP vol.14 no.2 São Paulo  2003.

Tony Nicklinson: “I’m afraid to live like this when I’m old and frail”,



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