In Switzerland, the legal use of Sarco, a machine designed by an Australian doctor for assisted suicide, was authorized.
According Swiss Info, the Swiss government already allows the use of Sarco, since in this territory euthanasia and assisted suicide are legal. The capsule is 3D printed, the patient sits comfortably inside and can activate the system from there.
The death of the patient occurs after Sarco replaces the oxygen in the capsule with nitrogen, without causing any type of discomfort or strange reaction to the person who uses it. Its creator assures that the death occurs in a period of between 5 and 10 minutes after the patient falls into a state of unconsciousness; Prior to that, the only abnormal reaction may be a little euphoria or mild dizziness.
Philip Nitschke, creator of the machine, says that there are currently two Sarco prototypes and that a third unit is manufactured in the Netherlands, which will be ready for use in Switzerland in 2022. One of the goals has to do with facilitating the process for those wishing to resort to euthanasia, which currently requires medical approval and a psychological evaluation. With a machine like Sarco, the process would have to be simpler and with no doctors involved.
“Our goal is to develop an artificial intelligence system that assesses the mental capacity of the individual,” explains Nitschke. Upon completion of that assessment, the person seeking assisted suicide will receive a code, which will allow them to use Sarco to end their life.
It is estimated that in Switzerland approximately 1,300 people used assisted suicide in 2020, most of them terminally ill patients.