Assisted suicide for the old but healthy


By Xavier Symons

Dr Jürg Schlup, president, The Swiss Medical Association

Dr Jürg Schlup, president, The Swiss Medical Association

Swiss assisted suicide provider Exit has officially sanctioned assisted suicide on the grounds of old age. The new statute – the first of its kind in Switzerland – was passed at the group’s annual general meeting over the weekend. “Our members told us to get active on this subject. It was ripe for a decision,” Bernhard Sutter, Exit’s vice-president, said.

The details of the extended services are yet to be worked out, Exit representatives said in a press conference on Saturday. A special support group will be formed to discuss and formulate the new statutes specific implications.

Healthcare providers rather than the government regulate assisted suicide in Switzerland. Organisations such as Exit and Dignitas decide themselves who the procedure is available to.

The Swiss Medical Association has expressed grave concern over the decision.

“it cannot be ruled out that elderly healthy people could come under pressure of taking their own life,” said Dr Jürg Schlup, the association’s president.

Sutter said that the new statute would benefit those who don’t want to go through the long pathology examinations usually required.

“It has to be OK for elderly people…not to be put through the same tests again,” said Sutter.

Editor’s note. This appeared at

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