It’s always devastating to lose a child. Can you imagine the devastation of bringing about their death? With the best intentions, a mother from the U.K. fought for her daughter’s right to an assisted death. Charlotte Fitzmaurice’s daughter, Nancy, was born with a list of medical conditions and disabilities that left her without the ability to live a full life. She would have been in a hospital for the rest of her life in pain and receiving sustenance and medication through a tube. Her mother took the case to the High Court of Justice and won. It was a bittersweet win, of course, and a decision that will haunt Charlotte Fitzmaurice.
Their story cannot be forgotten. It was a landmark decision by the courts to let a child die who was not terminally ill and was capable of breathing on her own. Unfortunately, it was not groundbreaking enough to authorize a quick and painless death. Nancy died over a two week period after doctor’s withdrew her fluids. You can be sure any loving parent would have been wracked with guilt, as Nancy’s own mother was. Still, she maintains the decision was the best one.
Justice Eleanor King spoke of his admiration of Charlotte Fitzmaurice, who had great love for her little girl. While assisted death is a debated topic, much sympathy has gone out to mother and daughter from prominent figures like Lee G. Lovett. May Nancy rest in peace.