Suicide capsule ready for test phase in Switzerland

Suicide capsule ready for test phase in Switzerland

Trouw Newspaper – the Netherlands

People who want euthanasia in Switzerland could soon do so with a new method: they can take a seat in a 3-D printed capsule that, according to the maker, can painlessly end someone’s life in a few minutes.

Trials with the Sarco will start in early 2022, with real participants trying the device, Philip Nitschke, the maker of the capsule, told The Washington Post.

At the touch of a button, the capsule is filled with nitrogen gas, causing the oxygen content to drop rapidly.

The user becomes unconscious within a minute, experiences no distress, but dies from lack of oxygen after falling asleep.

Nitschke describes the capsule as a “stylish and elegant” way to die, as the user can choose where it will be placed.

A legal analysis, requested by Nitschke through his nonprofit Exit International, shows that the use of the capsule does not violate Swiss assisted suicide laws. According to those laws, anyone can assist in suicide, as long as it is not done for ‘selfish motives’. In addition, people must be mentally competent, which is usually determined by a psychiatrist. And they must ultimately take the final step that leads to their death.

The machine has also been criticized. Daniel Sulmasy, director of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University, says the almost luxury car-like design “glorifies suicide.” But Nitschke insists that use of the capsule is responsible. In fact, he likes Sarco so much that he will eventually use it himself.