New Assisted Suicide Device Approved in Switzerland

New Assisted Suicide Device Approved in Switzerland

( – Assisted suicide is a highly controversial subject in the United States. However, some other countries have a far more relaxed approach. Switzerland is the most liberal, granting people the right to choose when they pass. A new invention seeks to make that process more manageable, but it could also raise important questions about ethics and end-of-life care.

The country’s medical review board recently approved the Sarco Suicide Pod for use. Manufacturer Exit International says the 3D printed pod should be ready for public access at some point in 2022.

Switzerland’s assisted suicide process currently involves an injection of chemicals that places the patient into a deep sleep, after which they slip into a coma and die. According to Sarco inventor Dr. Philip Nitschke, the pod allows for a drug-free, natural and peaceful death.

The person using Sarco has complete control over the process. He or she can activate it from the inside. Once a person activates the pod, nitrogen infuses into the inner chamber, reducing oxygen levels until the person loses consciousness. The patient then dies from a lack of oxygen. Dr. Nitschke claims the process is pain-free and that some patients even experience mild euphoria before passing out.

Because the Sarco pod contains everything the patient requires to complete the process, it can be placed virtually anywhere — including outside. A patient can choose the environment in which he or she will die, which is markedly different from current methods.

Dr. Nitschke said his goal is to reduce the medical intervention needed in assisted suicide. He wants to eventually automate the whole process and put the individual in control from beginning to end. Still, the approval of the capsule brings up a big question: could the device be misused for nefarious means or utilized by people suffering from suicidal thoughts and other mental illnesses?

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