Paralysed man Paul Lamb takes up Tony Nicklinson's right to die challenge


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The Independent Online

A paralysed man is taking up a legal challenge for the right to die with the help of a doctor, saying he would like to be able to choose when to “call it a day”.

Paul Lamb has taken on the case originally begun by Tony Nicklinson, saying he "badly" wants to see the law changed.

Mr Nicklinson, 58, died last year shortly after he lost his legal bid to end his life with a doctor's help, but his family won permission to continue his campaign.

Mr Lamb, who has waived anonymity to speak out, has joined the challenge, with the BBC reporting the two cases will be heard in the Court of Appeal on May 14 and 15.

Mr Lamb, from Leeds, told the BBC: "I just badly would like to see this law changed and then have that choice to just say, as and when I choose, you know, call it a day."

He was severely injured in a car accident in 1990 and has no function in any of his limbs apart from a little movement in his right hand.

In a statement to the courts, the BBC reported the father-of two said: "I am in pain every single hour of every single day. I have lived with these conditions for a lot of years and have given it my best shot.

"Now I feel worn out and I am genuinely fed up with my life. I feel I cannot and do not want to keep living. I feel trapped by the situation and have no way out.

"I spend my day sitting in my wheelchair. My daily routine is tedious, monotonous and pointless. I often go to bed at 5pm - such is the pointlessness of it all.

"I am fed up of going through the motions of life rather than living it. I feel enough is enough."

Mr Nicklinson's widow Jane, who has continued the campaign following her husband's death, expressed her gratitude to Mr Lamb for bringing his case to public attention.

"He is in constant pain," she told BBC Breakfast.

"He's had this for 23 years and nothing they do will alleviate the pain and he's had enough. He's just tired of living like this."

Mrs Nicklinson said there was a "huge amount of support" for a move to change the law, despite pro-life campaigners suggesting otherwise.

She added: "In my mind, the severely disabled are being blatantly discriminated against. Why shouldn't they have the same rights as everyone else?

"There would obviously be huge safeguards put in place so that people are protected. I know for a fact that there are many, many severely disabled people or people that have degenerative illnesses that know that one day, they will be severely disabled, that want a change in the law."

Mr Lamb said if he won a change in the "cruel" law to secure protection from prosecution for a doctor who helped him take his life, he would die a "very proud man".

In an interview broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Today programme he said: "The quality of life is not there and I just think I have done everything I can, I've tried everything."

He said he was in "horrendous" pain, adding: "My will has gone. I think I'm worn down, worn out. I'm not getting any younger and I just badly want to see this law changed."

Mr Lamb said he wanted to be able to die "with all my loved ones around me that I care about, in my bed, to have the ability to feel comfortable".