The woman at the centre of a legal battle over her right to die may not live long enough to hear the verdict, her husband says, after her condition took a turn for the worse this weekend.

Wellington lawyer Lecretia Seales, who has an inoperable brain tumour, was "talking less and less", her husband Matt Vickers posted on her blog, Lecretia's Choice.

On Friday morning Ms Seales woke to find her paralysis had spread, taking a "firm grip on her whole body", and leaving her "rigid as a plank, unable to bend at the waist", Mr Vickers wrote.

A hospital bed was delivered - with some difficulty over a holiday weekend - to the couple's home, which meant Ms Seales did not have to be moved to a hospice, which was against her wishes, he said.


His wife was "not well", Mr Vickers said.

"Her eyes are closed most of the time. She is having trouble swallowing. She is talking less and less. But she is facing all of this without complaint. She says she has no pain, and she has not taken any painkillers.

"Every so often a tremor comes. 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."

However, he added: "Lecretia's choice is imminent, and we don't know yet if she will get to make it."

He did not know if Ms Seales would choose to end her own life if she won her court challenge, he said, but "having the ability to make a choice about how her life ends would give her more strength to face it".

In a touching post, Mr Vickers described how he was sitting with his wife, holding her hand and talking about the holidays they had shared together.

"She is facing this as she faces all things: with tremendous bravery and courage. I am so proud of her. I love her so much.

"I don't know what she will ultimately choose, or even whether she will get to. But for Lecretia, it was always having the choice that mattered, not the choice itself."


Mr Vickers declined to comment further about his wife's condition or her court case when he was contacted yesterday.

Last week, in a three-day hearing in front of Justice David Collins in the High Court at Wellington, Ms Seales' legal team argued that not allowing her doctor to administer lethal medication that would relieve her suffering was contrary to the Human Rights Act.

Evidence was also given by Ms Seales' oncologist, who said she had weeks or some short months to live.

However, the Crown argued that there was nothing in current legislation that allowed for doctors to lawfully help to end someone's life and only a change in legislation would make it legal.

Professor Paul Rishworth, QC, said Ms Seales' arguments around who could apply for doctor-assisted death led to a slippery slope and there were details such as the definition of the word terminal that would have to be dealt with.