Dr. Kevorkian challenged social taboos about disease and dying, willfully defying prosecutors and the courts as he actively sought national celebrity. His critics and supporters generally agree on this: As a result of his stubborn and often intemperate advocacy for the right of the terminally ill to choose how they die, hospice care has boomed in the United States, and physicians have become more sympathetic to their pain and more willing to prescribe medication to relieve it.
Tag Archives | Euthanasia
Hero or monster? Apparently, constructing suicide kits is the new knitting. San Diego’s KGTV reports:
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A 91-year-old East County grandmother is getting national attention for making suicide kits. The woman started making the kits after watching her husband die a slow, painful death from colon cancer.
“I’m doing what I can to improve the world,” she told 10News. “There’s a lot of heartache and difficulty here.” Charlotte makes the kits — which cost buyers $60 — by taking large plastic bags and sewing soft elastic bands around the opening. There is a slot in the bag for a plastic tube carrying helium gas to be inserted. Helium — when inhaled in its pure form — is deadly. Kit users are responsible for securing their own helium gas.
“If heaven is so wonderful, you know you’d naturally want to go there, wouldn’t you?” said Charlotte. Charlotte said her sales were nearly $100,000 last year.
If you’re desperate for assistance in ending your life, Switzerland is your best bet, per this report from Bloomberg News:
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Switzerland is the destination of choice for people from abroad who want to die. The office of the country’s top legal official is pushing to change that.
While assisted suicide is permitted in the Netherlands, Belgium and the U.S. states of Oregon, Washington and Montana, only Switzerland allows doctors to help foreigners end their lives. More than 25 percent of the 380 assisted suicides in Switzerland during 2009 involved foreigners, most of whom died after drinking water laced with a lethal dose of barbiturates.
Former Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, who was replaced by Simonetta Sommaruga in November, has proposed making the practice more difficult by demanding oversight by doctors who aren’t connected with one of the country’s four right-to-die organizations. Assisted suicide has been legal in Switzerland since 1942.
“Those Swiss politicians who want to change the rules on assisted suicide behave like moral apostles,” said Margrit Weibel, president of Zurich-based suicide organization Ex International.