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Suicide Pod Can Be Used in Switzerland

The Sarco is cleared for use
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 7, 2021 2:24 AM CST
Updated Dec 11, 2021 2:45 PM CST
Suicide Capsule Can Be Used in Switzerland
The Sarco is shown in a screenshot.   (Exit International)

(Newser) – An assisted suicide pod first introduced three and a half years ago has now been cleared for use in Switzerland. The Sarco, invented by Dr. Philip Nitschke of the Exit International nonprofit, has passed a legal review and can be operated in the country, SwissInfo reports. Assisted suicide was already legal in Switzerland, with ingestion of liquid sodium pentobarbital being the method currently used. The Sarco, commonly referred to as a booth, pod, or capsule, can be towed around easily. Once inside, the person wishing to die lies in a comfortable position and answers a series of questions. At that point, they can activate the device when the time is right, Nitschke tells SwissInfo. The machine is 3D-printed, per Exit International, and one should be ready for use in Switzerland by next year.

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"The capsule is sitting on a piece of equipment that will flood the interior with nitrogen, rapidly reducing the oxygen level to 1% from 21% in about 30 seconds," he says. "The person will feel a little disoriented and may feel slightly euphoric before they lose consciousness. Death takes place through hypoxia and hypocapnia, oxygen and carbon dioxide deprivation, respectively. There is no panic, no choking feeling." Per Gizmodo, the device is quite controversial, with critics pointing out that palliative care has come a long way, and questioning whether the Sarco is ethical. The Independent reported in 2018 that it could possibly be controlled by the person inside blinking, if they are unable to communicate any other way. (Read more assisted suicide stories.)

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