By Alex Schadenberg, International Chair – Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
Assisted suicide is facilitated in Switzerland by suicide groups who assist the suicide deaths of their members. The assisted suicide groups charge a “membership fee” and fees for assisted suicide itself. Assisted suicide groups have their own “rules and regulations.” There are few national regulations for assisted suicide in Switzerland.
Last weekend, at their annual general meeting, Exit, an assisted suicide group in Switzerland, decided to extend assisted suicide to healthy elderly people who are living with some form of physical or psychological pain.
Psychological pain refers to a person who lives with depression, mental illness or “feelings of hopelessness.”
The UK Guardian reported that Dr Jürg Schlup, the President of the Swiss Medical Association, denounced the decision to extend assisted suicide to healthy elderly people. He said
“We do not support the change of statutes by Exit. It gives us cause for concern because it cannot be ruled out that elderly healthy people could come under pressure of taking their own life”
The Vice President of Exit, Bernard Sutter told the media
“Our members told us to get active on this subject. It was ripe for a decision.”
A recent study found that in 16% of the assisted suicide deaths in Switzerland, the person had no underlying illness.
Pietro D’Amico, a 62-year-old magistrate from Calabria in southern Italy, died by assisted suicide in Basel Switzerland in April 2013 after receiving a wrong diagnosis.
In March 2010, the Atlantic monthly magazine did an exposé on the Dignitas assisted suicide group in Switzerland. The exposé confirms the rumors that the leader of the Dignitas suicide clinic kept jewelry and other items that were left behind after a client has died and re-sells it and that crematory urns have been dumped in Lake Zurich.
Swiss assisted suicide organizations gained legal status in the 1980′s. The shift by Exit came shortly after a doctor was acquitted by a Swiss appeals court for administrating life-ending drugs to a 89-year old man without examining him first.
Editor’s note. This appeared at alexschadenberg.blogspot.ca.