Has Switzerland Approved the Use of This Technique That Aids in Assisted Suicide?

This tweet claims that Switzerland approved the use of a 3D suicide pod. It further adds that the process takes 30 seconds. That is; Nitrogen is filled in the pod, reducing the Oxygen level to 1% thus making the person unconscious. 

Background

This suicide pod, referred to as Sarco was designed for suicide without necessarily involving a doctor, popularly referred to as assisted suicide. Assisted suicide, however controversial, has been legal in Switzerland since the 1940s

According to BBC, in 2020 alone, close to 1,300 people in Switzerland opted for this concept of dying. “The current method used in Switzerland is to provide the person with a series of liquids that if ingested, will end the person’s life,” the BBC report states.

With the 3D suicide pod, its inventor Dr. Philip Nitschke says “this is a futuristic concept,” he adds, “the benefits for the person who uses it is; they don’t need permission, they don’t need some special doctors that will get you a needle and they don’t need to get typical drugs.”

Verification

This claim was debunked by Reuters in a fact-check that states; “Dr. Nitschke commissioned a legal review to identify any obstacles that could hinder the Sarco pod in Switzerland.”

“The review found no requirement to license or seek approval for the use of the device in the country,” the Reuters report reads. Therefore, “the Sarco had not been submitted to any medical review board.”

Additionally, this American news website states that the capsule has not formally been approved in Switzerland but is expected to be in operation in 2022. Another fact-check by Snopes states that the legality of this device in Switzerland is under discussion. 

As much as the concept used by this device does not fall under Swiss laws, Snopes adds, “medical devices are regulated because they are supposed to be safer than other products. Just because a product is not beneficial to health does not mean that it is not also affected by these additional safety requirements.”

Verdict

With the debates surrounding the Sarco suicide capsule in Switzerland, it is FALSE to conclude its approval in the country. 

This story was produced by Africa Uncensored in partnership with Code for Africa with support from Deutsche Welle Akademie.

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Nyakerario Omari

Nyakerario J. Omari is a Kenyan writer and journalist with a passion for in-depth stories told through documentaries. She has an interest in reporting matters concerning health, crime and human rights.