Switzerland: 26% increase in assisted suicide deaths

By Alex Schadenberg, International Chair – Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

People interested in learning about assisted suicide visit an information stand for the Swiss organisation Exit (Keystone)

People interested in learning about assisted suicide visit an information stand for the Swiss organisation Exit

The Swiss media are reporting that the Federal Statistical Office says that 999 people died by assisted suicide at the Exit and Dignitas suicide clinics in 2015, an increase of 26% in one year and two and one half times as many as five years before.

In October Swissinfo.ch news reported:

The Federal Statistical Office reports that in 2014 Switzerland saw 742 cases of assisted suicide, more than 2.5 times as many as five years previously. In the latest statistics, assisted suicide accounted for 1.2% of all deaths in Switzerland that year.

Men and women were nearly equally represented in the assisted suicide numbers, with ten out of 100,000 men and nine out of 100,000 women choosing to die in that way when spread out over Switzerland’s resident population.

In 42% of cases, assisted suicides followed illnesses caused by cancer. Neurodegenerative disorders led to 14% of assisted suicides, followed by cardiovascular illnesses at 11% and musculoskeletal maladies at 10%. …

Death is usually induced through a lethal dose of barbiturates that has been prescribed by a doctor. Ingestion of the poison, whether by drinking it or through the use of intravenous drips or stomach tubes, must be carried out by the person wanting to die.

Even though the report was just issued, the data is not new. The Exit suicide clinic reported a 34% increase –782 assisted suicide deaths– in 2015. Their report indicated that of the assisted suicide deaths, 55% were women and 45% men.

In May 2014, the Exit suicide clinic extended assisted suicide to healthy elderly people who live with physical or psychological pain. This decision has led to an increase in assisted deaths.

A 2014 Swiss assisted suicide study found that 16% of people who died at Swiss suicide clinics had no underlying illness.

In April 2013, Pietro D’Amico, a 62-year-old magistrate from Calabria Italy, died by assisted suicide at a suicide clinic in Basel Switzerland. His autopsy showed that he had a wrong diagnosis.

In February 2014, Oriella Cazzanello, an 85-year-old healthy woman died at a Swiss suicide clinic. The letter she sent her family stated that she was unhappy about how she looked.

In August 2015 a healthy depressed British woman died by assisted suicide in Switzerland.

The Swiss assisted suicide stats proves that when assisted suicide is accepted, deaths by assisted suicide continually increase and the reasons for assisted suicide multiply.