Former medic dubbed ‘Dr Death’ wants no restrictions for assisted suicide in Ireland

Controversial inventor Philip Nitschke has called on Ireland to permit the use of his DIY ‘death pods’ for assisted suicide.

The former physician, who boasts that he performed the world’s first assisted suicide by lethal injection, told the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Assisted Dying that it should permit any method of assisted suicide for anyone who has mental capacity.

Nitschke’s pods, which are undergoing final trials for use in Switzerland, rapidly reduce the oxygen level inside the capsule by flooding it with nitrogen gas until the occupant is dead.

No restrictions

The scientist criticised countries where euthanasia is already legal, such as the Netherlands, which assesses whether a person can be killed on the basis of certain criteria and experience “challenge after challenge about eligibility”.

He pushed Ireland to follow Switzerland’s so-called “rights-based” model instead, which merely requires a person to have mental capacity.

Nitschke claimed: “We see too many people who have got very good non-medical reasons for wanting to die and I would not try to interfere with that.”

Medics opposed

The Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI) and the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland have both made clear their complete opposition to the practice.

They are urging parliamentarians to pursue excellence in end-of-life care rather than legalise assisted suicide.

The RCPI is Ireland’s largest postgraduate medical training body and a professional body for medical doctors with over 11,000 members.

Also see:

‘Kill Bill’ legalises euthanasia in New South Wales

‘Depressed patients must not be encouraged to die’, top medic warns Oireachtas committee

Isle of Man approves principle of euthanasia

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