The suicide capsule, Sarco has passed legal review in Switzerland and will likely begin operation next year.
Earlier this year, Exit International announced the development of a 3D printed suicide capsule, called the Sarco capsule. The coffin-like pod aims to provide patients with a painless alternate to assisted suicide. Currently, the only other painless method includes ingestion of liquid sodium pentobarbital. Instead, the suicide capsule relies on oxygen concentration in the pod.
According to Philip Nitschke, the founder of Exit International, the capsule is made from biodegradable wood-based material. Moreover, the machine’s design allows it to be towed anywhere the patient desires. For example, an ideal outdoor setting or an assisted suicide organization.
Once inside the pod, the person answers a number of questions and then presses a button, activating the mechanism. Upon activation, the capsule will then fill with nitrogen and reduce the oxygen concentration to 1% within 30 seconds. Thus, resulting in the person feeling a bit of disorientation and euphoria before entering a state of unconsciousness. Death occurs approximately 5-10 minutes later.
The suicide capsule is also equipped with an emergency button that allows the person to exit the pod.
Criticism and Legality
Recently, Exit International sought a legal review of the suicide capsule in Switzerland. The review did not find the device to violate any of the country’s suicide laws. As a result. the company aims to begin the test phase of its invention in early 2022. Moreover, the team will include some additional features such as a camera that allows communication and records the person’s consent.
Notably, the device has not undergone a review by the Swiss medical board. Since the device does not fall under ‘medicine’ the board does not plan to license it. Nor does Nitschke aims to submit it for review.
Despite the legal review, the device has faced a lot of criticism from around the world. Many have labelled it as unethical and a way to glorify suicide. However, Sarco has received a good response in Switzerland where assisted suicide is legal. The country recorded approximately 1,300 assisted suicides in 2020. Moreover, many foreigners looking to undergo assisted suicide frequently travel to the country. The team at Exit International hopes their device will help de-medicalise the dying process.
Source: Exit International