Suicide Tourism on the Rise in Switzerland
the MPR take:
While most countries restrict the practice of assisted suicide, the laws surrounding its use reside in a gray area in Switzerland. This lack of regulation is why Switzerland (mainly the city of Zurich) has become a popular place for people to come for the purpose of committing suicide. In a study published in the Journal of Medical Ethics, investigators from the Institute of Legal Medicine at the University of Zurich sought to find out who these “suicide tourists” are and what ailments they had that caused them to seek out assisted suicide. 611 cases were analyzed over the 4-year study period; over 50% of the cases were women. Reasons for suicide included cancer, cardiovascular disease, rheumatic disorders, and neurological disease (almost 50% of the cases). Using fatal doses of sodium pentobarbital, the Swiss right-to-die organization DIGNITAS assisted in most of the cases. While the debate on the ethics of assisted suicide continues to grow, this unique phenomenon of suicide tourism in Switzerland may spur other countries to supplement or amend their regulations on the practice.
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