A British woman with multiple sclerosis who appealed all the way to the highest court in the land to be allowed to die by assisted suicide has been told such a procedure would be illegal.
But she -- and more importantly, her husband -- was given, essentially, a Get Out of Jail Free card by the court when it hinted that there would be no repercussions if the couple were to go abroad to seek an assisted suicide.
The case points to a key aspect of medical tourism -- those who use it to flout local laws.
Debbie Purdy, 45, says the ruling today sets the stage for her husband, Cuban violinist Omar Puente, to take her out of the country to die.
... the Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge rejected her appeal but highlighted the case of tetraplegic former rugby player Daniel James, whose parents were not prosecuted after helping him go to Switzerland to end his life last year.
After today's hearing, Ms Purdy said: "I feel that I have won my argument, despite having lost the appeal. I am very grateful for, and respect the ruling of the Appeal Court.
"They have done everything they can do to clarify that, given the Dan James judgement, Omar would be unlikely to be prosecuted if he were to accompany me abroad for an assisted death, and we are therefore one step closer to the clarification I need."
Puente would face a jail term of up to 14 years if he helped his wife die on British soil. More than 100 people in Britain have used the Swiss clinic, and none have been prosecuted on their return home.
The case points to an interesting aspect of medical tourism. In effect, it renders governments and medical associations largely unable to regulate their own health care systems, since those who disagree with local rules can simply jump on a plane and get done elsewhere what is not allowed at home.
The recent Calgary case of 60-year-old Ranjit Hayer, who had twins after visiting an Indian fertility clinic to get treatment she was denied in Canada because of her age, is another example.
Such efforts can have tragic consequences, as with the case of an Israeli boy whose parents took him to Moscow for stem cell treatment for his ataxia telangiectasia, a fatal brain disease, only to have the unproven treatment cause brain tumours.