I wrote an entire novel about a twisted version of "assisted suicide"
which is called "Euthanasia." The novel began with a ping in my
brain when I came across information about Dignitas five years ago
when I was fifteen.
Dignitas is a medically assisted suicide program located near Zurich, Switzerland. The team of practitioners who work there assist terminally ill or chronically mentally ill patients in killing themselves. There has been much debate on whether or not assisted suicide is morally sound, but under Swiss law, it certainly is. (Assisted suicide is different from euthanasia in that the patient must consume the dose of poison themselves.) I personally feel that if animals are given the mercy to die peacefully, we homo-sapiens deserve the same right.
Dignitas has helped 1,032 chronically ill and depressed people die since 1998. Most of the people who use the program come to Switzerland from America, the United Kingdom, and Germany (naturally, considering how high of a suicide rate Germans have as it is.)
Some families of people who chose to end their lives through Dignitas still face criminal charges in their home-lands. I believe this to be absurd and illogical; the person who chose to die is dead already, what is the point in trying to punish anyone? If someone is terminally ill and in incessant pain, physical or mental, it is their own right to choose to end their life. Life is an instance in which quality comes into play before quantity but in our own country (America), it is humane to put a dog out of its misery whereas a human being is left to suffer because they have a “sacred right to life.” What about the sacred right to death? What about the inevitability of death to begin with? Most anti-Euthanasia or anti-assisted suicide groups are religious in nature and therefore without the basic logic needed to make solid decisions about what should and should not be legal. Their morality is subjective and therefore, faulty. A bit of nihilism always helps in these situations.
Dignitas is thorough in their diagnosis of those wishing to die through their program. It is by no means a “walk-in-clinic.” The Swiss doctors must examine the patient and their history.
“Dignitas must keep strictly to Swiss law. They cannot help people whose condition
may improve either by itself or with treatment. They accept those who are terminally
ill or suffering unbearably from symptoms that cannot be relieved.
As of February 2006 Dignitas has helped 493 individuals to act upon their choice to
die, more than half of them from Germany and Britain. To date, at least five people
in Australia have availed themselves of this help. “ (Bell, Gordon.)
The way in which the doctors at Dignitas go about assisting each patient in their death is very methodical. Although several methods have been practiced, one remains the long-held tradition for those wishing to be assisted in suicide. It appears to be a very peaceful method using the drug pentobarbital, which is no longer legal in the United States, and which many people seek on the Black Market where it runs about $300 for a small container. I won't tell you where you can go to find it because it isn't my intention to help you kill yourself. However, this is how it's done.
In 2008, Dignitas used breathing helium gas as a suicide method instead of a Nembutal overdose several times. However, in general, Dignitas uses the following protocol: an oral dose of an anti-emetic drug (to prevent vomit), followed approximately 30 minutes later by a lethal overdose of powdered Nembutal (4 grams or more) dissolved in a glass of water or fruit juice. I would prefer to have mine with wine, personally. The drugs can be ingested via a drinking straw if you choose to be so fancy. The Nembutal overdose depresses the central nervous system, causing the person to become drowsy and fall asleep within 10 minutes of drinking it. Anaesthesia progresses to coma as the person's breathing becomes shallow. Death is caused by respiratory arrest, which occurs within 30 minutes of ingesting the Nembutal. Bingo, you're dead.
The Nembutal method is much more humane and peaceful than methods such as injection or any one of the horrific ways people may try to commit suicide at home. It is a fast and guaranteed successful death. No brain explosion, no bloody bathtub, no splattered human remains on the sidewalk.
Family members often accompany the suicidal person in mind to Switzerland to be in the room with them when Dignitas administers the drug. Each death is recorded and the patient is asked repeatedly if they truly wish to die. The poison is given in a cup or dispensed by a machine depending on the nature of the patient’s ailments. Their family stays with them as they lose consciousness and the medical personnel waits to check for a pulse. The patient is pronounced dead.
To read my novel heavily based on assisted suicide, a psychopathic teenage girl, and a pact, go to www.lulu.com/euthanasia
It's kind of my only income.