Switzerland has legalized a ‘suicide machine’ that allows its users to die in a painless and peaceful manner is just under a minute. The coffin-shaped ‘Sarco’ capsule allows the user to operate it even from the inside by blinking their eyes.
As per The Independent, a person suffering from locked-in syndrome can use the machine from inside with a blink of an eye.
Locked-in syndrome is a neurological disorder characterized by complete paralysis of voluntary muscles in all parts of the body except for those that control eye movement.
The locked-in syndrome is usually a complication of a cerebrovascular accident (a stroke) in the base of the pons in the brainstem. The patient is alert and fully conscious but cannot move. Only vertical movements of the eyes and blinking are possible.
The euthanasia device promises a painless death to its user by inducing hypoxia and hypocapnia. Hypoxia is a condition in which there is no oxygen supply at the tissue level whereas hypocapnia is a state of reduced carbon dioxide in human blood, which leads to death.
However, the project has started garnering adverse reactions because of the method used by the machine. Some people have termed the machine as a ‘glorified gas chamber’.
Other have alleged that Sarco glamorizes suicide, The Independent reported.
The director of the non-profit organization Exit International, Dr Philip Nitschke, who invented the suicide machine, hopes that the euthanasia device will be available for use in Switzerland next year.
“It’s been a very expensive project so far but we think we’re pretty close to implementation now,” Nitschke said, as per news reports.
Sarco, which is short for sarcophagus, allows the user to choose their preferred location for a peaceful death. The biodegradable capsule can be detached from the machine and then literally turned into a coffin.
As of date, only two Sarco prototypes exist in in Switzerland, but Nitschke’s company is working on 3D printing the third machine to make it ready for operation next year.
Assisted suicide, also known as assisted dying or medical aid in dying, is legal in Switzerland. In 2020, around 1,300 people used the services of euthanasia organizations.
Suicide prevention helpline numbers are for Nepal are — Patan Hospital: 9813476123; Transcultural Psychosocial Organization helpline: 16600102005; TUTH Suicide Hotline: 9840021600. Nepal currently does not have a national strategy on suicide prevention. Please reach out if you or anyone you know is in need of support.