Assisting …even in a suicide


Dignitas ADC

There is probably hard to find someone who does not know the Switzerland as one of the great tourism destinations. But what is not so much popular and not all Swiss are happy with is the image of the country as one of the best ‘suicide tourism’s destination.

As one of the very few countries in the world where assisting the suicide is permitted, the Swiss develops this unique tourism for those looking to end the hell of their own suffering and to die in pace. By Swiss law, the assistance dying is permited, if it is not based on “selfish” motives and is granted in a passive way, such as providing medications, allowing some one to end his life.

In some 10 years up to 2009, only Dignitas, the not-for-profit assisted suicide organisation in Pfäffikon, ZH has helped more of 1,000 people to die1. According to the Journal of Medical Ethics, AFP and the Institute of Forensic Medicine in Zurich, the number of foreigners who traveled to here to commit suicide has doubled in the period from 2008 to 2012. Some 611 people from more of 30 countries used the aid, mostly from Germany (268) and UK (126), followed by citizens of France (66), Italy (44), USA (21), Austria (14) and Canada (12).  The decided to die in this way were aged 23 to 97 years (mean age 69 years), the study said.

What makes people to become “tourists to the death”? People asking for such service are mostly who have an incurable, progressive disease. On first place of the reasons are neurological problems (almost half of the cases), followed by cancer and rheumatic disorders.

The Swiss law allows assisted suicide, but not euthanasia. What’s the difference, someone may ask. It’s that the person who wants to die must actively take the death-dose himself. For those who are unable to lift the glass with the drug to their lips, there is a machine working with a press of a button… It is not a cheap service and the average price is going above € 4’600 ($ 5’000) even there are cases people paid less for.




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