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Right-to-die campaigner Rossiter dies -

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ELEANOR HALL: Now to the death of the quadriplegic man who went to court to fight for the right to
die.

Christian Rossiter told the staff at his nursing home that his life was a "living hell" and the
nursing home went to the Supreme Court to seek a ruling that staff would not be charged if they
stopped treating him.

The 49 year old won the case and was prepared to starve to death but instead, he died early this
morning from a chest infection, as David Weber reports.

DAVID WEBER: Christian Rossiter had known for some time that he wanted to die, but it was only last
month that he told the world.

CHRISTIAN ROSSITER: I'm Christian Rossiter and I'd like to die, I'm a prisoner in my own body. I
can't move. I can't even wipe the tears from my eyes.

DAVID WEBER: Mr Rossiter suffered spinal injuries after he was hit by a car while cycling in 2004.
Then, after two falls, he developed spastic quadriplegia.

John Hammond was Christian Rossiter's lawyer.

JOHN HAMMOND: For the last 48 to 72 hours Mr Rossiter's health declined steadily to the point where
he died in the early hours of the morning and for a large part of those last three days, I am told
he was unconscious.

DAVID WEBER: You had been trying to see him in recent days and were unsuccessful. Is that the case?

JOHN HAMMOND: Yes, both the nursing home and the family asked that all visitors including myself
remain away and I respected that decision of the family.

I think he is now at peace so there is some sense of profound relief that he has now died because
he did want to die.

DAVID WEBER: When the ruling was handed down in the Supreme Court, Mr Rossiter was asked to go and
get the best medical advice and there was a suggestion after the court case by Mr Rossiter that he
might change his mind.

JOHN HAMMOND: Indeed, there was a suggestion that he would change his mind. I think he took time to
think out, to work out or review what his best option was. During that period of review, he spoke
to me about the possibility of acquiring a passport so that he could travel to Switzerland and
visit a euthanasia clinic which indicated he was still keen to find a way to exit.

I mean at the end of the day I couldn't help him with going to Switzerland because it might have
placed me in contravention of the law.

DAVID WEBER: So what do you think Mr Rossiter's legacy is?

JOHN HAMMOND: Mr Rossiter's primary legacy is that he took a case to the Supreme Court or was
involved in a case in the Supreme Court which ruled that patients have the right to refuse
medication and food and water if they want to proceed to die quickly.

So prior to that Mr Rossiter taking that cause on in the Supreme Court, doctors would generally
administer medication and sustain life regardless of whether or not the patient wanted that to
occur.

DAVID WEBER: Even though Christian Rossiter was not terminally ill, euthanasia advocates hailed the
court's decision as a step in the right direction.

Dr Philip Nitschke of Exit International.

PHILIP NITSCHKE: If you want to end your life by refusing treatment, by refusing fluids, refusing
food, in other words starving yourself to death, you have that option. The courts have made that
clear. No one can come along and wait until you are unconscious and then give you food and fluids
against your wishes so it is a clarification of that point.

And the other point that was made clear in the decision by Justice Martin which I think is very
overdue too is the fact that the nursing home, if they did comply with his wishes as they clearly
have, would not have suffered any legal penalty.

So it was a very important decision in terms of clarifying the exact rights a person has and also
the responsibilities and rights of the nursing home providing care.

ELEANOR HALL: Dr Philip Nitschke from Exit International ending that report from David Weber.