(LifeSiteNews) — Medical authorities in Switzerland have authorized a disturbing new method of assisted suicide that employs personal “suicide pods” to further reduce oversight of the decision to end one’s life.
Unveiled years ago, Sarco Suicide Pod is a portable, 3D-printed, one-man capsule which can be flooded with nitrogen from inside, after the user answers one survey to be told the pod’s location, then another set of questions to confirm his or her intent to die.
“We want to remove any kind of psychiatric review from the process and allow the individual to control the method themselves,” says pod inventor Philip Nitschke of the group Exit International. “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.”
“The machine can be towed anywhere for the death,” he continued. “It can be in an idyllic outdoor setting or in the premises of an assisted-suicide organization, for example … It’s very comfortable … There is no panic, no choking.”
Pricing for the “service” has not yet been revealed, but the devices are slated to be put to use next year. Only two prototypes currently exist.
Assisted suicide is already legal in Switzerland, and occurred approximately 1,300 times last year. Critics warn that these pods could expand that number, both by romanticizing and sanitizing the act through the use of such sleek, futuristic-looking machines and by cutting from the process the input of trained medical professionals who could prevent it upon recognizing an applicant’s mental illness.
“I think it’s bad medicine, ethics, and bad public policy,” Georgetown professor of biomedical ethics Dr. Daniel Sulmasy said in 2017 after Nitschke unveiled his invention. “It converts killing into a form of healing and doesn’t acknowledge that we can now do more for symptoms through palliative than ever before.”
“Westerkerk will never support people by offering equipment as promoted by Dr. Nitschke and we seriously wonder whether this contributes to a thorough and careful discussion around the issue,” Jeroen Kramer, president of Amsterdam’s Westerkerk church board, said in response to a 2018 display of the technology. “We will not and cannot support any suggestion of using such equipment.”
The Suicide Prevention Lifeline in the United States is 1-800-273-8255. The Canadian Suicide Prevention Service is 1-833-456-4566. In the United Kingdom, the Samaritans can be reached at 116 123.