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Dr Death launches "glorified gas chamber" suicide machine

19 April 2018

  
Philip Nitschke and his suicide machine. 

Even he says it has negative connotations of the Holocaust.

Philip Nitschke, the "rational suicide" advocate and founder of Exit International, known as Doctor Death, has unveiled a new suicide machine at an Amsterdam Funeral Fair.

Dr Death's latest horror

The "Sarco" (short for sarcophagus) works by filling a capsule with nitrogen, which induces hypoxic death to the occupant.. The pod of the Sarco also doubles up as a biodegradable coffin.

The first fully-functional Sarco device is set to be built later this year in the Netherlands, before being shipped to Switzerland where assisted suicide is legal. Nitschke (who had his license to practise as a doctor suspended by the Medical Board of Australia in 2014 on the grounds that he posed "a serious risk to public health and safety") plans to develop a 3D-printable version of the machine.

A virtual reality experience of the Sarco was on display on 14 April in Westerkerk church in Amsterdam for the city’s annual Funeral Expo. 

Personal gas chamber

Most media publications have reported the outrage and disgust aroused by the concept, but the Independent describes it as "a dignified way" for the terminally ill to end their lives.

Even Nitschke seems aware of the horrifying connotations of the device. "Gas may never be an acceptable method for assisted suicide in Europe due to the negative connotations of the Holocaust," he said. "Some have even said that it’s just a glorified gas chamber."

Gruesome promotion of suicide

It has even been met with disgust in the Netherlands, where euthanasia is legal, and being extended further and further. (For instance, a 29 year old women with mental illness recently died under the euthanasia regime.) MP Kees an der Staaij of the Reformed Political Party (SGP) said: "It is gruesome.  All of us together try to do everything to prevent suicide and then you find a suicide machine on the funeral fair like it is the most normal case in the world. Suicide is not a promotional offer and aiding with suicide is a criminal offence in the Netherlands."

Putting the vulnerable at risk

Dr Peter Saunders, campaign director at Care Not Killing Alliance, said that Dr Nitschke's "shameless promotion of suicide as an answer to life's problems puts the lives of vulnerable elderly, depressed and disabled people at grave risk."

"He is on public record as promoting assisted suicide to anyone who wants it, 'including the depressed, the elderly bereaved, (and) the troubled teen' and runs seminars where he advises on the sourcing, supply and use of barbiturates, helium, nitrogen and other means to end one's life," he continued..  "This runs the additional danger of glamorising suicide and promoting suicide contagion and breaches both national and international guidelines on suicide prevention." 

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