ZURICH, Mat 25, 2004 ( – The family of a British man was outraged to learn that he was able to fly to a Swiss clinic and receive assisted suicide within 24 hours of his arrival. British police have opened an inquiry.  Gordon Hurst, 76, who suffered from Parkinson’s disease, flew to Zurich on April 23 where he died at the Dignitas clinic after taking a lethal dosage of barbiturates. Hurst was consigned to a nursing home two months prior to his death. The former Minister of Defence clerk and father of three viewed a television documentary on the Dignitas clinic shortly before his death.  A daughter-in-law of the deceased asked police to open an investigation. “I want to know how someone in Gordon’s position can just get on a plane and fly to his death,” Lesley Miller said, as reported by the UK’s Telegraph.  Miller has also called on the British government to petition Swiss officials to close Dignitas. At the least, Swiss law ensuring a more lengthy assessment period before a foreigner is assisted to commit suicide should be implemented, she argued.  Swiss law permits assisted suicide for “compassionate” reasons . Hurst is thought to be the 21st from Britain, while another 500 are on a register. The Dignitas slogan is “live with dignity, die with dignity.”

Dignitas has assisted 280 people to commit suicide since its opening six years ago. The popularity is beginning to alarm Swiss officials.

“People are only here for one day before they die,” Zurich’s public prosecutor, Andreas Brunner, told the Telegraph. “We know nothing about them and we can’t say if it was a long-term desire to end their lives.”  Dignitas founder, Ludwig Minelli, 71, told the Telegraph that they would gladly assist anyone, “irrespective of medical condition.”“It does not matter what people are suffering from, we do not refuse anyone,” Minelli said.


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