Technology 3 min read

Exit International Offers Euthanasia via the 3D-printed Sarco Pod

Exit International Offers Euthanasia via the 3D-printed Sarco Pod

A voluntary euthanasia advocate invites those who want to die in peace to take a seat in one of his 3D-printed suicide pods, presented as a reliable and stylish death machine.

Every year, an average 45,000 victims are lost to suicide in America, which brings an estimated economic toll of $70 Billion.

Globally, 800,000 persons choose to take their own lives annually at a rate of about one every 40 seconds.

Suicide is one of the leading causes of death and no matter the cause is a serious public health issue in the world.

Today, we won’t be talking about those who commit suicide due to severe depression or psychological distress. Instead, we’ll be talking about patients with chronic pain and disabilities that seek a way out of their suffering.

Proponents of physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia believe the right to die is as fundamental as the right to live.

Sarco Suicide Pods: Killing you Softly!

One “right-to-die” activist went the extra mile to develop a controversial suicide-assistance device.

Philip Nitschke, a suspended Australian medical practitioner, and Alexander Bannink, a Dutch engineer, developed the “Sarco” suicide pod.

Short for sarcophagus, Sarco is a device that offers its “users” a quick, painless, and stylish death, and comes with a built-in detachable coffin.

At a press of a button, the user fills the Sarco vessel with nitrogen gas.

After a brief sensation of light dizziness, the user loses consciousness due to lack of oxygenation, and death follows in a few minutes.

Nitschke aims to build a functioning Sarco device by the end of the year, and intends to make its design open source.

“That means that anybody who wants to build the machine can download the plans and 3D-print their own device,” Nitschke told the Guardian.

Before coming up with his suicide pods idea, and other “euthanasia kits” before it, Philip Nitschke has had a long history with “death”.

Doctor Death: Suicide Assistance for all

In 1996, Australian doctor Philip Nitschke was the first in the world to legally administer a lethal injection to a volunteering terminally-ill patient.

Under the same Australian law (Rights of the Terminally Ill Act 1995-1997), Dr. Nitschke assisted three other patients to end their lives.

After retiring from medical practice in 1997, Nitschke founded Exit International, formerly called the Voluntary Euthanasia Research Foundation.

The change of the name isn’t spontaneous as it seems. Nitschke turned from pro voluntary euthanasia to pro-suicide activist and doubled-down on controversy.

Nitschke, thinks that “a peaceful death is everybody’s right” and that suicide is a fundamental human right.

He believes that everyone over fifty with a sound mind, not just terminally-ill patients, should have the right to plan their death, and should be given the means to do so.

The argument of Nitschke revolves around one point: if we consider life as a gift, we should be able to dispose of it when we see fit.

The South Australian Medical Board of Australia suspended Dr Nitschke’s license to practice medicine in 2014. Nitschke lost the consequent legal battle as the judges ruled that his beliefs and practices pose a serious risk to public health and safety.

But, that hasn’t stopped the former medical doctor from going forward with Sarco.

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Zayan Guedim

Trilingual poet, investigative journalist, and novelist. Zed loves tackling the big existential questions and all-things quantum.

Comment (1)
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  1. Paul Weber April 28 at 8:35 pm GMT

    The SARCO It is a complete fantasy, a pretty photoshop job and a badly made mock-up. It is yet another device Nitschke is using to promote membership of Exit, his website and sales of the Peaceful Pill Handbook.

    He used exactly the same tactic when he promoted the Destiny Machine, another figment of his wild imagination.

    Just look at the practicalities. Starting with the blindingly obvious. A 3D printer capable of printing such a beast would need to be the size of a small truck, would not fit into most houses and would be prohibitively expensive. If it is argued that it can be built in smaller pieces and then assembled, the quantity of pieces and the complexity of assembly are way beyond the abilities of the majority of those vulnerable people who are looking to choose an early exit.

    Don’t even start me on the technicalities of the computer, power supply, gas valves, etc., etc.

    It is complete nonsense. This does not in any way invalidate questions when it comes to euthanasia, but one should definitely question Nitschke’s continual exploitation of the vulnerable.

    Whatever Nitschke’s initial motives, all probably positive, he has since become a charlatan and con artist.

    Don’t just believe what his PR puts out. Nitschke needs proper journalistic investigation to expose him for what he is.

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