A 2014 appraisal of self-directed dying
by Derek Humphry
This September, as part of the world euthanasia conference in Chicago, we shall be making a fresh appraisal of non-doctor ways in which a terminal or hopelessly ill person can choose to end their life.
This review will be by NuTech (New Technology in Self-Deliverance) in an all-day session of international experts and experienced guides. Crucially, the meeting will be looking for persons with new backgrounds and ideas on choice in dying. NuTech is an informal group started in 1997 by John Hofsess, Dr. Philip Nitschke and myself to find ways in which a competent adult could safely exit which were lawful and did not involve doctors. It has no finances or constitution. NuTech’s leaders today are Faye Girsh and myself.
Its first born was the helium hood technique for ending life using a party balloon kit, an oven plastic bag and vinyl tubing. The technique – often called ‘exit bags’ — became widely known in 2002 in the 3rd edition of Final Exit. It has since been used for self-deliverance by several hundred people, even in the Netherlands at times when legal physician-assisted suicide is not available. Absent lethal drugs, it is the system recommended by the Final Exit Network — successor to the Hemlock Society.
Since NuTech’s beginnings, the growth of the internet has been enormous, giving rise to huge sales of all types of drugs from international destinations, notably Mexico, Russia and China. Unfortunately, some sources which supply lethal drugs have involved fraud, dubious quality and rampant over-charging. The fraud is not confined to Nembutal and Seconal which are widely used in right to die cases -– hospitals worldwide are finding that many types of commonly-used drugs are counterfeit, low toxicity or even blank. Sometimes the label is counterfeit.
NuTech needs to nail down which sources are reliable for lethal barbiturates like Continue Reading »