3D printed capsule ignites debate on assisted suicide

Dr Charles D. Blanke, an oncologist and professor at the OHSU Knight Cancer Center in Portland, Ore., Who has studied data on physician-a...

Dr Charles D. Blanke, an oncologist and professor at the OHSU Knight Cancer Center in Portland, Ore., Who has studied data on physician-assisted dying, said breathing nitrogen causes rapid death. But he warned he was not being tested, including as an alternative to lethal injection during capital punishment.

“It is not at all clear that inhaling nitrogen would lead to peaceful death,” he said, contrary to Dr Nitschke’s claim that death comes quickly after a brief euphoria.

Swiss law, where around 1,300 people sought help from right-to-die organizations in 2020, requires confirmation that those seeking an end to their own life are sane and made the decision without pressure to from anyone with “selfish” motives. Then a doctor writes a prescription for sodium pentobarbital, the deadly drug used there.

Sarco would bypass this step because it does not require a prescription for a drug.

Some Swiss right to die organizations have distanced themselves from Sarco. Exit, which offers living wills, counseling and end-of-life care, and is not affiliated with Dr Nitschke’s nonprofit of the same name, said he did not consider Sarco to be an alternative to medically assisted suicide. Another group, Lifecircle, said “there is no human warmth with this method”.

Dignitas, a clinic near Zurich, said sodium pentobarbital “is approved and supported by the vast majority of the public and politicians.” Swiss association Pegasos said they were in discussions with the Sarco team but wanted further clarification on the device.

Others who have studied the ethics of voluntary assisted suicide have praised the debate Sarco has inspired. Thaddeus Pope, a bioethicist at Mitchell Hamline School of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota, said the Sarco debate could lead to a new way of looking at end-of-life options, including by lawmakers.

“It could be bigger or bigger than the Sarco itself,” he said, adding that Dr Nitschke “illustrates the limits of the medical model and makes us think.”

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Newsrust - US Top News: 3D printed capsule ignites debate on assisted suicide
3D printed capsule ignites debate on assisted suicide
Newsrust - US Top News
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