Quadriplegic man granted right to die in controversial Australian court case

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An Australian nursing home will not be held criminally responsible for discontinuing feeding and allowing a 49-year-old quadriplegic resident to die, an Australian judge ruled Friday.

The resident in question, Christian Rossiter, broke his spine in an accident in 2004, and then suffered a fall last year, leaving him "unable to undertake any basic human functions," according to his court statement. Rossiter had requested that his caregivers at Bridgewater Care Group withdraw his feeding tube and allow him to die, but under Australian law it is a criminal act to assist with a suicide. While lawyers for the nursing home said the company did not hold any view one way or the other on whether to discontinue feeding, they did not want to break the law and asked the court for guidance on the issue.

With his right to die secure, Rossiter said he plans to meet with a palliative care physician. Speaking to reporters after the trial, he said that he still wants to die, but acknowledged that he could still be dissuaded, The Associated Press reported.