Right-to-die campaigner Lecretia Seales deteriorates
A terminally-ill Wellington lawyer fighting to have the option of having her doctor help her to die, might not live to hear the verdict.
Lecretia Seales' health has deteriorated and she is now in a hospital bed in her home, writes husband Matt Vickers on Seales' blog.
Seales' case to clarify the law in a way that would enable her general practitioner to help her to die peacefully, if she chose, finished in the High Court at Wellington on Wednesday.
Seales does not want to be dependent on the care of others in her final days, to suffer intolerably or be sedated to the extent that she is not conscious of her loved ones.
But her wish might not be granted before she dies.
He explained they had to organise to get a hospital bed into their
"Despite being awake and lucid, her paralysis had taken a firm grip on her whole body, and she had become as rigid as a plank, unable to bend at the waist.
"Her brother and I worked to lift her
Seales is now settled in a hospital bed in their living room.
"She is laying in her bed with a quilt sewn for her by a friend who worked with her at the Law Commission. Our cat, Ferdinand, has been sharing her bed with her, laying in her lap, or at the end of the bed," Vickers writes.
Every so often a tremor comes, he writes.
"Her whole body shakes and vibrates. The pressure of the tumour on her brain stem is causing her brain to reconfigure, to shift against itself like restless earth, causing her body to tremble, the frame of the bed shaking and rattling. And then it subsides, and she rests.
The 42-year-old has an untreatable brain tumour and is thought to be just weeks from death.
"She doesn't know what is yet to come, and what she will have to endure, and that must be terrifying," Vickers writes.
"I know that having the ability to make a choice about how her life ends would give her more strength to face it ... I don't know what she will ultimately choose, or even whether she will get to. But for
"We are hoping for a judgement that acknowledges and respects
Justice David Collins reserved his decision on Wednesday and said he would work through Queen's Birthday weekend to quickly deliver a result.
University of Otago law faculty dean professor Mark Henaghan believed Collins would make a judgment whether she was around to see it, or not.
"I don't think he will abandon the decision," he said.
"If she does die before that though, I think he'd still write the judgment because, while it is about Lecretia, it's also about the whole issue in general. It's about anyone in her situation who gets to a point where they want someone to assist them to pass away."
While Collins had a big decision to make, he knew it had to be made promptly, Henaghan said
"The case has been made, so a judgment has to be written. It's a very important decision."