Suicide Pod to be launched in Switzerland: Dr. Philip’s Attempt to De-medicalize Assisted Death

Switzerland has legalized Suicide Pods: 3D-printed pods that allow people to die peacefully

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The Sarco Suicide Pods are being launched in Switzerland which will remove the medical personnel from assisting people to pass away peacefully. The suicide Pod will assist people to choose their preferred way of death. The suicide Pod can be operated from the inside by the user. A Swiss legal expert that Sarco hired concluded that the equipment did not violate any laws in the nation. However, several solicitors questioned his conclusions. Additionally, Dignitas, a group that supports assisted suicide, stated that it is not going to be easily accepted by the laws.

How assisted suicide has been working in Switzerland

In Switzerland, giving someone the tools to commit suicide on their own is legal. In 2020, 1,300 people lost their lives there in this way. Euthanasia, in which a physician ends the life of a voluntary patient, and assisted suicide are illegal in the United Kingdom. As of right now, assisted suicide in Switzerland involves taking a pill that contains a mixture of medications that puts the victim into a deep sleep shortly before they pass away. Conversely, the nitrogen-flooded pod, which can be positioned anywhere, rapidly reduces the oxygen content. The process would lead the person inside to lose consciousness and die in roughly ten minutes.

The suicide capsule can be triggered from the inside and has an emergency button for leaving. Sarco asked Daniel Huerlimann, a legal expert and assistant professor at the University of St Gallen, to look into whether utilizing the suicide pod would be against any Swiss laws. He told the BBC that his findings suggested the pod “did not constitute a medical device”, so would not be covered by the Swiss Therapeutic Products Act. Additionally, he thought it would not violate any rules about the safety of products, the usage of nitrogen, or firearms. “This means that the pod is not covered by Swiss law,” he stated.

Kerstin Noelle Vkinger, a doctor, lawyer, and professor at the University of Zurich, told the Swiss newspaper Neue Zurcher Zeitung: “Medical devices are regulated because they are supposed to be safer than other products. Just because a product is not beneficial to health does not mean that it is not also affected by these additional safety requirements.”

Dignitas told the BBC: “For 35 years now, through the two Swiss Exit groups and for 23 years also with Dignitas, Switzerland has the practice of professional accompanied suicide with trained staff, in co-operation with physicians. “In the light of this established, safe, and professionally conducted/supported practice, we would not imagine that a technologized capsule for a self-determined end of life will meet much acceptance or interest in Switzerland.”

How the process works

Sarco pods, also known as sarcophaguses, enable a user to manage their death by rapidly lowering their internal oxygen saturation levels. The individual wishing to terminate their life must respond to a series of recorded questions before pressing a button that releases nitrogen into the inside. Within, the oxygen content drops from 21% to 1% very rapidly. After death, the pod can be used as a coffin.

The developer says he wants to “de-medicalize” assisted death

Dr. Philip Nitschke, the man behind the capsule, said he intends to release the plans for download so that anybody could make the design. This will be given away free of cost. was informed by Dr. Philip Nitschke, that the capsules may be “towed anywhere for the death” and that one of its best qualities is that they can be placed in an “idyllic outdoor setting.” He aims to “de-medicalize the dying process”, he said in an interview published on the Exit International website, a voluntary assisted dying charity that he founded. “We want to remove any kind of psychiatric review from the process and allow the individual to control the method themselves.” He also stated how the psychiatric field will surely see this as a threat, “Our aim is to develop an artificial intelligence screening system to establish the person’s mental capacity. Naturally, there is a lot of skepticism, especially on the part of psychiatrists.”

He has been known as “Dr. Death” for his extensive advocacy of the right to die. The Sarco pod currently has two prototypes and a third is being printed in the Netherlands. Some have criticized Dr. Nitschke in the past for the pod, claiming that its futuristic style glamourizes suicide.

By: Gursharan Kaur

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