Coffin shaped suicide machine legalized in Switzerland

About 1,300 people had voluntarily euthanised themselves using such devices by companies like Dignitas and Exit, in Switzerland last year.

A coffin-shaped “suicide machine” that promises its users a relatively painless death in under a minute has been legalized in Switzerland. The machine ‘Sarco’ induces hypoxia and hypocapnia which is the state of inadequate oxygen levels in the tissues and reduced carbon dioxide levels in the blood leading to the demise of the user. 

According to the Independent UK, the machine can be operated from inside by just blinking – in case the person suffers from a locked-in syndrome where an individual is conscious and aware but cannot move due to complete paralysis of the voluntary muscles of the body except for the vertical eye movements or blinking.

This euthanasia device assists the user to die “relatively peacefully and painlessly” in under a minute, the Independent reported. This is the latest development in euthanasia devices that can be used in countries where voluntary euthanasia or assisted suicide is legal and helps in ending one’s life with minimal pain.

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Dr Philip Nitschke, the director of the non-profit organisation Exit International, also known as ‘Dr Death’ invented this suicide machine. It has been named ‘Sarco’ as a reference to sarcophagus which means a stone coffin, the machine literally serves as a tomb for its user and the biodegradable capsule can detach from the base in order to serve as a coffin.

About 1,300 people had voluntarily euthanised themselves using such devices by companies like Dignitas and Exit, in Switzerland last year.

“Barring any unforeseen difficulties, we hope to be ready to make Sarco 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,” Dr Philip Nitschke said to The Independent.

The device has expectedly drawn widespread criticism with some saying “that it’s just a glorified gas chamber”, the Independent reported. Some were of the opinion that it glorifies and glamourizes suicide. 

Currently, two prototypes of Sarco exist and a third three-dimensional (3D) prototype is being printed by Exit International which is expected to be ready for operation in Switzerland next year.

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