One Click Death

  According to reports, a 3D printed suicide capsule has been “legalized” in Switzerland and will be put into use in 2022. People who want to be euthanized do not need a doctor’s permission or special drugs. They just need to choose a location, lie down in an airtight cabin, and start the procedure from the inside.
  It sounds convenient, but it is precisely because of the too simple “death” method of this machine that it has caused widespread concern and great controversy. Some call it a “killing machine” and a “glorified gas chamber”; others believe it provides relief for those suffering.
  In fact, euthanasia has always been controversial in terms of ethics and law, and is only allowed by law in a few countries such as Switzerland and the Netherlands. Switzerland is also the only country in the world that can offer euthanasia for expats so far.
  However, in reality, it is not easy to achieve euthanasia. In addition to the rigorous review process, the overall cost is also very expensive, far beyond the reach of ordinary people.

  Once the program is activated, the equipment under the cabin will inject nitrogen into the cabin, and the oxygen content in the cabin will quickly drop from 21% to 1%. The user will feel disoriented, and at the same time, there will be a little excitement before losing consciousness. Through this method, in just 30 seconds, the user will die peacefully without panic and suffocation.
“One Click Death”

  The euthanasia machine, named Sarco, looks similar to a space capsule in a sci-fi film. It was jointly developed by Australian doctor Philip Nitschke, who supports euthanasia, and Dutch designer Alexander Bannink.
  According to the designer, there is a start button in the cabin, the user can set the time of death in the cabin, and press the start button without the help of others. Once the program is activated, the equipment under the cabin will inject nitrogen into the cabin, and the oxygen content in the cabin will quickly drop from 21% to 1%. The user will feel disoriented, and at the same time, there will be a little excitement before losing consciousness. Through this method, in just 30 seconds, the user will die peacefully without panic and suffocation.
  Before allowing users to euthanize, Sarco will let them complete a set of psychological test questions before they can get the password to open the hatch. The machine can be transported anywhere according to the user’s wishes, and they can end their lives in their favorite place and at the most appropriate time.
  In Switzerland, the history of “assisted suicide” dates back to the 1940s. In 2020, about 1,300 people were euthanized in Switzerland, mainly by ingesting liquid “sodium pentobarbital”. Sodium pentobarbital is a central nervous system depressant that produces anesthesia in large doses. The dose used for euthanasia is 30 times that of ordinary anesthetics, and this dose only takes 30 seconds to put a person to sleep. After about 4 minutes, the user’s heart stops beating.
  Compared with the traditional injection liquid “pentobarbital sodium”, the biggest feature of Sarco is that users do not need to obtain any doctor’s permission, nor do they need to obtain euthanasia drugs. The researchers say that as Sarco rolls out, the hope is to remove all forms of mental state auditing from the process, allowing individuals to take control of how they die.
  It is reported that there are already two Sarco prototypes, and the third is being printed in the Netherlands. According to Philip Nitschke, the capsules have passed a “legal review” and will be available in Switzerland in 2022.
  However, details of the machine’s “legal review” have not been disclosed. On December 13, 2021, the well-known rumor-refuting website Snopes posted that experts consulted by Sarco believed that this did not comply with Swiss law. Some Swiss assisted suicide groups have also expressed doubts about the use of the machine and its legality.
  An assisted suicide agency in Switzerland said every case of assisted suicide is reported to the local government for investigation by state prosecutors, police and forensics. And this approach has been recognized and supported by the vast majority of the public and political circles. According to this, they cannot imagine that a technology capsule designed for self-determined end-of-life would be widely accepted in Switzerland.
  Some analysts believe that whether it is through manual intervention or through artificial intelligence programs to determine whether a person “should die”, the large-scale promotion of euthanasia has the risk of being difficult to supervise. The lack of supervision, you can buy it with money, and the operation process is simple, which will greatly reduce people’s sense of awe of death. If someone chooses Sarco on impulse, the result will be unbearable.
Transnational euthanasia

  There are two types of euthanasia: active euthanasia and passive euthanasia. “Assisted suicide” is also considered a type of euthanasia, which refers to the act of dying with the help of others at the patient’s own request. Most countries have legalized this method through legislation. Assisted suicide is currently legal in a few countries, including the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, and Luxembourg.
  Switzerland is the only country that can euthanize foreigners, making it a global “suicide center”. It is understood that the local government did not set up euthanasia institutions, but carried out by private institutions. According to the available information, there are at least 5 “assisted suicide” institutions in Switzerland at present.
  In the Swiss canton of Ticino, one of these institutions alone assisted 905 people with euthanasia in 2018. Today, more than 1,000 people end their lives through “assisted suicide” every year, and the number of members joining euthanasia facilities is growing rapidly.
  However, it is not easy for expats to achieve euthanasia in Switzerland.
  First of all, the applicant needs to pay a fee to become a member of the euthanasia institution. The agency then conducts an initial contact and personal interview with the applicant. Thereafter, the applicant is also required to provide medical records for review. After passing the review, the applicant is considered to have obtained a temporary permit. Applicants must be at least 18 years old, diagnosed with a terminal illness, and have only 3 to 6 months to live. After a rigorous medical and psychological evaluation, applicants who insist on euthanasia until the last step can perform euthanasia.
  Even if the above conditions are met, the applicant must have sufficient financial support, because the price of euthanasia is quite expensive.
  In 2016, data provided by the BBC’s documentary “How to Die: Simon’s Choice” showed that since 2002, more than 250 Britons have gone to Switzerland to seek euthanasia, with an average cost of 7,000 pounds (about 60,000 yuan). . Terry Pratchett, a famous British writer suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, once made a documentary about euthanasia called “Choose to Die”. In the documentary, Terry Pratchett pointed out that for 10,000 pounds (about 80,000 yuan), Swiss euthanasia institutions can provide one-stop services, including cremation and transporting the remains home.

  In fact, for expats, euthanasia costs far more than that. Switzerland is a high-consumption country, and travel expenses, accommodation and other expenses are not small expenses.
  Taiwan’s famous sports anchor Fu Daren suffered from pancreatic cancer in his later years. On June 7, 2018, 85-year-old Fu Daren chose to die in Switzerland by euthanasia. And this euthanasia, Fu Daren spent his life savings of NT$3 million (about 600,000 yuan).
  And that’s obviously not the maximum fee. Fees for “assisted suicide” are generally calculated according to the time and labor consumed by the process, which means that the cost of euthanasia usually varies from person to person. The euthanasia agency will also charge fees according to the financial situation of the members, and members with good financial conditions will pay more.
domestic legislation pending

  Due to the involvement of ethics, morality, medical care, law and many other fields, although some European and American countries and regions have promulgated laws and regulations related to euthanasia, the legalization of euthanasia has been quite difficult. Especially with the occurrence of many controversial euthanasia incidents, euthanasia has been questioned as “abuse”.
  According to data from the documentary “Choose to Die”, 21% of people who were euthanized at a Swiss institution were not euthanized because of an untreatable disease, but because of boredom. Professor Theo Buhl, a well-known Dutch expert who has worked on the euthanasia review team for nearly 10 years, believes that the number of euthanasia in the Netherlands is rising and there is a tendency to be abused – “it is becoming a default mode in the treatment of cancer patients”.
  In fact, there has been discussion about euthanasia in our country for a long time.
  As early as the Seventh National People’s Congress held in 1988, Yan Renying and Hu Yamei, two well-known medical experts, first submitted a motion to legalize euthanasia to the National People’s Congress. But so far there is no conclusion, and euthanasia is still a blank in China’s law.

  During the National People’s Congress in 2020, Shen Deyong, member of the Standing Committee of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and director of the Social and Legal Affairs Committee, submitted a proposal on hospice care and dignified death, which once again aroused people’s attention to euthanasia. According to an online questionnaire survey organized by Shen Deyong, about 82.82% of the people basically agree with euthanasia, and 84.26% of the people believe that it is necessary to legislate on euthanasia in my country.
  In February 2021, the “Journal of Demographics” published a study on “Public Attitudes towards Euthanasia”. The study collected data through a nationwide interview-style questionnaire in early 2019, and a total of 776 valid questionnaires were recovered. The results showed that 55.2% of the respondents agreed with euthanasia, and 44.8% did not agree (including opposition and neutrality), of which 7.1% clearly expressed their opposition and 37.7% held a neutral attitude.
  The researchers believe that, compared with the previous survey results, the proportion of those who hold a favorable and a negative attitude has decreased, and the proportion of those holding a neutral attitude has increased significantly.
  ”Whether it is possible for my country to implement euthanasia legislation in the future depends on various factors such as social development, medical development, and rule of law development in my country in the future. At present, it is impossible to come up with an exact answer.” Chai Min, partner of Beijing Yingke Law Firm In an interview with China News Weekly, he said that euthanasia has possible risk loopholes at the ethical, technical and legal levels.
  In Chai Min’s view, the legalization of euthanasia may pose the risk of causing a moral downturn. For example, auditors use euthanasia as evidence for the purpose of profit, providing excuses for medical staff’s slack, negligence, or even abuse of medical care, and patients’ family members have selfishness to avoid support and support obligations, and uncontrollably advise patients to implement euthanasia.
  She believes that legalizing euthanasia when the medical security system is not sound may lead to some patients being forced to choose euthanasia due to financial constraints, or unnecessary euthanasia due to wrong diagnosis.
  At the same time, my country’s current legal system is not perfect. If euthanasia is legalized, how to design a sophisticated legal system to prevent its misappropriation and abuse is also a very difficult issue.