A British mother is speaking out about how she won a case to end her 12-year-old old daughter’s life after years of watching the young girl suffer.
Charlotte Fitzmaurice says that her daughter Nancy was born blind and has suffered from meningitis, hydrocephalus and septicemia. Due to her ailments, the girl was never able to talk, walk, drink or eat, and had to be taken care of 24 hours a day. After a routine surgery caused her constant, excruciating pain, Fitzmaurice stood in front of a judge to ask that he allow her to end her daughter’s life.
“My daughter is no longer my daughter, she is now merely just a shell,” said Fitzmaurice in her statement back in August. “The light from her eyes is now gone and is replaced with fear and a longing to be at peace. Today I am appealing to you for Nancy as I truly believe she has endured enough. For me to say that breaks my heart. But I have to say it.”
In a historic decision, the judge quickly allowed for Fitzmaurice and her husband David Wise to end their daughter’s suffering. Fitzmaurice told Mirror UK that she tried to make her daughter’s life as full as possible despite the debilitating health problems she faced.
“We were constantly in and out of hospital. She never developed more than a six-month-old child,” said Fitzmaurice. “Simple things like birds singing and hearing children play would put the most beautiful smile on her face. She loved Michael Buble and when I slurped my tea she would give out a hearty chuckle. I gave her the best quality of life she could possibly have.”
A 2012 operation for kidney stones wound up leaving Nancy in the worst shape she had ever been in, and not long after, Fitzmaurice and Wise decided they had to fight to end their daughter’s life.
“She was screaming and writhing in agony 24 hours a day. Not being able to ease her suffering was too much to bear,” Fitzmaurice said. “She wasn’t my angelic child any more, she was a shell. I wanted beautiful memories of Nancy, not soul-crushing ones. After a whole weekend of her screaming in agony, I decided I wasn’t going to watch my little girl suffer any more.”
After the court proceedings, the judge made clear her reason for allowing Charlotte to end her daughter’s life peacefully.
“The love, devotion and competence of Nancy’s mother are apparent,” said Justice Eleanor King. “In her own closed world she has had some quality of life. Sadly that is not the case now. Please, can you tell Nancy’s mother I have great admiration for her.”
On August 21, Nancy died, and although both Fitzmaurice and Wise say it was the right decision, they also acknowledge that they will likely carry that burden with them for the rest of their life.
“It was heartbreaking to see my daughter like that,” said Wise. “It was the hardest decision we ever made.”
“The last day was the hardest of my life. I miss my beautiful girl every day and although I know it was the right thing to do, I will never forgive myself,” Fitzmaurice said. “It shouldn’t have to be a mother’s decision to end a child’s life. I believe hospitals and parents should be able to decide without mothers or fathers going to court.
"I want parents to know it’s okay to want your child to be at peace, it doesn’t mean you love them any less. Watching my daughter suffer for days while they cut off her fluids was unbearable. She went in pain. It will stay with me forever. Although I will live with the guilt forever, I know I have done everything I can for her and she is at peace.”
The story of Nancy Fitzmaurice comes as terminally ill American woman Brittany Maynard speaks up about her decision to end her own life on November 1, despite controversy surrounding the right-to-die issue.
Photo: Screenshot via Mirror UK