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Gary Parkinson’s Son Feels ‘Let Down’ By Tony Nicklinson Case

March 14, 2012

The son of a former footballer with “locked-in syndrome” has said coverage of a fellow sufferer’s right-to-die case has left him feeling let down.

Tony Nicklinson, who has been paralysed for seven years, won the right to proceed with his legal case on Monday.

Luke Parkinson’s father, former Burnley and Middlesbrough player and Blackpool coach Gary, has had the condition since suffering a stroke in 2010.

He said when “bad days” happened, it was up to carers “to be more positive”.

Mr Nicklinson, who communicates through the use of an electronic board or special computer, said before the ruling that his life was “dull, miserable, demeaning, undignified and intolerable”.

‘Sickens me’

Mr Parkinson said in a blog post that he accepted that Mr Nicklinson had “very understandable reasons for thinking as he does”.

However, he said he believed “a life is a life and that’s the way it should stay”, as “there is always something to live for and I 100% agree with that”.

He said that while he was glad the condition was being discussed, the media had “gone about raising awareness of locked-in syndrome in the wrong way”.

“The news of Tony Nicklinson makes me feel slightly disappointed and let down, as I feel it shows a bad example to the world of locked-in syndrome and its sufferers,” he said.

“The possibility of sufferers being able to end their lives sickens me.

“With no offence intended, I hope the laws stay as they are currently regarding euthanasia and assisted suicide.”

Mr Parkinson said the media should concentrate on “inspirational people such as Kate Allatt”, who recovered from the syndrome and now works to raise awareness of it.

He said, while he could not speak for his father, when “bad days” happened, it was up to carers “to be even more positive”.

“Since taking ill, my dad has made some remarkable improvements but is still a long way from making a full recovery and regain the quality of life he once had,” he said.

However, he said that even without a full recovery, he said he believed his father could have “an equally as good one in the future”.

Despite having the condition, Gary Parkinson has worked as scout for Middlesbrough, a role which Luke said “keeps him positive and shows him there is a life even with a disability”.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 15, 2012 5:50 pm

    I understand why people may have a problem with the coverage of locked in syndrome as it has not been particularly positive. However, I am a supporter of assisted suicide as I believe if someone who is fully able can commit suicide why shouldn’t someone with a disability be able to do that? I’m not denying that suicide is a terrible thing and should be prevented if possible as it is so sad when someone feels the need to take their life. However all I am saying is that I think things should be made more equal, and if someone who does not have a disability can commit suicide then people with disabilities should have the same rights as everyone else. I think if the person has explored all options and is aware of their choices but still wants to commit suicide than they should be allowed to do so as it is less dignified forcing a person to stay alive in misery if that is how they feel. I understand that this is a hugely controversial issue and that there will be many people who do not agree with me, however I would hate to feel trapped and not be able to take my own life as others were preventing me if it was what I wanted to do and I was aware of all the other options. I also see why people with disabilities may find the issue particularly contentious, as someone with a disability myself I like to see positive coverage of disabilities and people living their lives as fully as possible. However I think denying someone else the rights to kill themselves is a very different matter as it is like saying everyone with a disability should be happy with their life. That is just categorising and we would not do it for other groups in society so why ourselves? At the end of the day no matter how much rehabilitation someone has and all the support in the world some people will just not want to live that life, and we should respect them even if we do not agree with them.

  2. Dr Paul permalink
    March 20, 2012 6:16 pm

    I agree with Holly above. Whether a person wishes to live or not with a debilitating condition is surely up to the person concerned. When Mr Parkinson says ‘The possibility of sufferers being able to end their lives sickens me’, then he is denying the right of someone to bow out of a life he or she no longer finds tolerable. To keep someone alive if he or she does not wish to live any longer, surely that is sickening.

    I have a personal interest here, as I have an incurable illness that, whilst it will not kill me, nonetheless makes me unable to live the life I once led. I feel that anyone in my condition should have the right to escape from an intolerable life should he or she feel that there is no more enjoyment to be had.

    I do not think that having the right to escape an intolerable life in any way means that people who are incapacitated for whatever reason should be ‘put down’ against their will, or that there should be an atmosphere in which disabled, sick or otherwise incapacitated people should be under pressure from any quarter to consider ending their lives. That is as unacceptable to me as denying the right of people to escape an intolerable life.

  3. Faery permalink
    March 22, 2012 3:58 pm

    I completely agree with the above comments. Everyone has the right to end their life if they choose. It is not up to anyone else if I choose to die in my own way. People with Locked-In Syndrome (and a lot of disabled people) do not have the physical capability to take their own life and would need support from a loved one. At the moment the law makes that loved one a criminal. A change in the law would give all people equal access to suicide.

    I do not advocate suicide. I generally feel that all life is sacred and that we should make best of what we have. But I know that a lot of people would disagree and would like to escape a life they feel is not worthwhile. What right do I have to tell them that they are wrong? I do advocate equality – even in areas that I wouldn’t choose to take up myself.

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