A German doctor has made headlines recently after announcing a controversial new invention— a suicide machine. Dr Philip Nitschke will release a prototype of the machine at a Funeral Fair later this month, and will be available for people to experience it for themselves using virtual reality. The machine’s purpose is quite grim, and has stirred a debate as to whether or not assisted suicide is ethical.
Suicide. Assisted suicide is a sensitive subject that seems to stir up a bit of commotion. Dozens have debated whether or not helping someone end their lives is ethical, especially if said person is in severe pain or suffering. For Dr Philip Nitschke, committing suicide is a human right, and one that he’ll continue to fight for.
Sarco. Nitschke has announced his invention of the “suicide machine,” which is actually named the “Sarco”— short for sarcophagus. The pod is big enough to fit one person, and works by emitting a poisonous gas that will knock the user unconscious before eventually killing them.
Invention. According to the Independent UK, the machine was first invented after the attorneys of Tony Nicklinson, a man suffering from locked-in syndrome, contacted Nitschke in the hopes that he could assist with Nicklinson’s suicide via some kind of painless machine. Unfortunately for him, Nitschke couldn’t legally do so, but set out to invent the machine anyways.
Peaceful. The machine is said to give people a peaceful way of suicide, rather than the other grim alternatives. “Death shouldn’t be something you do hidden away in a back room somewhere,” Nitschke told the Independent UK. Once the person is deceased, the machine can be used as a coffin.
Criticism. Of course, the machine’s invention has sparked significant controversy from people who believe that Nitschke is only glamorizing suicide. Others seem to have an issue with the manner in which the machine works. Regardless of the criticism he is facing, Nitschke stands behind his invention.
Not acceptable. “Gas may never be an acceptable method for assisted suicide in Europe due to the negative connotations of the Holocaust. Some have even said that it’s just a glorified gas chamber,” said Nitschke, as reported by the Independent UK.
Virtual reality. The machine will be launched at a Funeral Fair in Amsterdam, where people can experience it using virtual reality. “Virtual reality offers a way for people to experience their own virtual death. People seemed to be really interested in this,” continued Nitschke.
Tests. Nitschke plans on making the machines 3D-printable, and will be available to people who have to undergo a series of mental health tests to apply. If they pass the test, that person will then be given a code which is then entered into the machine once they are ready.
Painless. “A Sarco death is painless. There’s no suffocation, choking sensation or ‘air hunger’ as the user breathes easily in a low-oxygen environment. The sensation is one of well-being and intoxication,” Nitschke explained via the Huffington Post.
Suffering. Granted, the machine isn’t meant for just anyone to use, and is mostly for people who may be suffering from a terminal illness and are suffering. Nitschke hopes that although controversial, his device will spark conversations about death, which is such a taboo topic in society.
Experiences. ”The Sarco will not be for everyone, that’s clear. By next year, though, the open-source plans will be freely available on internet. I would like to think that it will find broad appeal and be able to help reframe conversations about, and people’s experiences, with death,” writes Nitschke, via the Huffington Post.
Legal. Nitschke, who has helped with an assisted suicide in 1996, maintains that a person’s right to die should be legalized, but many people believe otherwise. Many people fear death because it’s so mysterious and taboo, but with the invention of the machine, Nitschke believes more people will start to feel better about death knowing they have the option to control how they go.
Positively. “The Sarco is intended to get people talking positively about death and with broader considerations than being afraid, scared or shocked. After all we are all going to die. Increasing numbers of us want some say in how we are going to die,” Nitschke said in a statement.
Threats. Nitschke, who has been nicknamed “Dr. Death,” works for Exit International, an organization he founded to promote assisted suicide. He recently told Vice that his work has become so controversial, he’s even received death threats. “I recently received my first actual death threat. I don’t know if it’s from a fundamentalist, or from someone who sells illegal euthanasia drugs,” he said.
Legality. Despite the many hurdles being thrown at him, Nitschke has no plans to stop pushing for what he believes in. It’s unclear whether or not the machine will ever be implemented. In the US, assisted suicide is only legal in certain states.
Source: rebel circus