U P D A T E
PHYSICIAN-ASSISTED SUICIDE FOR THE TERMINALLY OR HOPELESSLY ILL, COMPETENT, ADULT PERSON IN SWITZERLAND
— For information only
Physician-assisted suicide is legal in the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland and Oregon, USA. In 2009 it also became law in Washington State and Luxembourg.
But, except for Switzerland, the laws confine the procedure to residents only, and under strict conditions. Switzerland alone allows foreigners to come for hastened death, provided it is altruistic, not profit-making nor of evil intent. Two right-to-die organizations (both called EXIT) in Switzerland help only their own members to die, but DIGNITAS will help foreign visitors to die in cases which they feel justified because of the terminal suffering. The person must be a competent adult.
The Dignitas operation is in Forch, near Zürich, Switzerland, and therefore operates under Swiss law, which, since 1940, has permitted assisted suicide, with or without a doctor. ‘Assisted suicide’ in this instance means drinking a lethal overdose provided by Dignitas. Euthanasia (direct lethal injection) is illegal and not done. Swiss authorities are informed of all deaths as a matter of course. There are fees to be paid for documentation, registrations, certificates, etc.
Families who have used the Zurich clinic in the past have said that Dignitas charges about $6,570 for each assisted suicide. which includes all the administration fees and payment to the collaborators. Traveling expenses to Switzerland are extra. It is necessary to spend at least four days in Switzerland for the necessary administrative processes to take place. In advance, a person may become a member by paying a modest annual subscription.
In certain cases, after considerable investigation, Dignitas may help an adult with long-time, severe, incurable mental illness to die. This does not happen often. We have never heard of any legal problems for Americans going to Dignitas in Switzerland. We don’t think there are any.
How to contact Dignitas in Switzerland: they must be fully informed IN ADVANCE of a person’s wishes, circumstances, medical condition, see the medical records, and agree to help. It is definitely not a ‘walk-in’ clinic.
Do not pay any money upfront or go to Switzerland unless and until you have written word from Dignitas that they will help you die subject to their customary last-minute checkup.
Postfach 9 – CH 8127 Forch, Switzerland
Telefon: +41-44-980 44 59
Contact person: Ludwig A Minelli, attorney.
Dignitas is a member of the World Federation of Right to Die Societies – as is ERGO www.finalexit.org
This is an informing message as a public service from ERGO in Oregon, USA.