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Switzerland's newest tourism industry: death

If Jack Kevorkian still has the urge to help people kill themselves, he can travel to Switzerland, which seems to have a vibrant death tourism industry. In fact, it's so vibrant, Swiss prosecutors want the government to clamp down on it because foreigners can travel to a Switzerland suicide clinic and be dead hours later. From the London Telegraph:

Prosecutors are calling for tougher regulations on Switzerland's assisted suicide clinics after uncovering evidence that some of the foreign clients they help to die are simply depressed rather than suffering incurable pain.

The clinics, which attract hundreds of foreigners, including Britons, every year, have been accused of failing to carry out proper investigations into whether patients meet the requirements of Switzerland's right-to-die laws.

In some cases, foreign clients are being given drugs to commit suicide within hours of their arrival, which critics say leaves doctors and psychologists unable to conduct a detailed assessment or to provide appropriate counselling.

Andreas Brunner, the senior prosecutor of the Zurich canton, told The Sunday Telegraph: "We are not trying to ban the so-called death tourism, but the outsourcing of suicide must be put under stricter control.

"Prosecutors look into every suicide, assisted or not, and there are many cases where it is not clear whether the assisted person has chosen death in full possession of their decision-making capacity. But investigations are difficult due to lack of evidence after the suicide.

"We, therefore, demand that the federal government amend the legislation to enable closer and lengthier monitoring of suicide patients before their deaths."

First, those in the death culture tell us to let the terminally ill or those who are in pain die with dignity by not just allowing them to kill themselves but by allowing doctors to assist them in the process. Now, we find that people who aren't terminally ill or in pain but are just depressed, a state that can be reversed with the correct medications, are now finding it very easy to kill themselves as well.

Dymphna at Gates of Vienna notes how assisted suicide and abortion go hand in hand:

This reminds me of the convenient lie the pro-abortion faction used to get Roe v Wade past us: abortions ought to be "rare."

It appears that euthanasia and abortion are fellow-travelers, doesn't it? And human life gets cheaper by the day. These are the same people who lecture us for our "aggression." I guess it's okay to kill as long as it is Swiss-like: orderly and neat. Just as abortions are a "pro-choice" validation of women's freedom?

Comments (13)

The whole thing is quite bi... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

The whole thing is quite bizarre. I do not believe that depression is a medical condition that is cured by popping pills. I believe it stems from the bad consequences of choices made in one's life, both materially and spiritually. Drugs are not going to cure it, though patients like the idea as this view absolves them of all responsibility for their own lives. See the works of Theodore Dalrymple for in-depth analysis, especially Life at the Bottom.

A single case can be illuminating, especially when it is statistically banal--in other words, not at all exceptional. Yesterday, for example, a 21-year-old woman consulted me, claiming to be depressed. She had swallowed an overdose of her antidepressants and then called an ambulance.

There is something to be said here about the word "depression," which has almost entirely eliminated the word and even the concept of unhappiness from modern life. Of the thousands of patients I have seen, only two or three have ever claimed to be unhappy: all the rest have said that they were depressed. This semantic shift is deeply significant, for it implies that dissatisfaction with life is itself pathological, a medical condition, which it is the responsibility of the doctor to alleviate by medical means. Everyone has a right to health; depression is unhealthy; therefore everyone has a right to be happy (the opposite of being depressed). This idea in turn implies that one's state of mind, or one's mood, is or should be independent of the way that one lives one's life, a belief that must deprive human existence of all meaning, radically disconnecting reward from conduct.

A ridiculous pas de deux between doctor and patient ensues: the patient pretends to be ill, and the doctor pretends to cure him. In the process, the patient is willfully blinded to the conduct that inevitably causes his misery in the first place. I have therefore come to see that one of the most important tasks of the doctor today is the disavowal of his own power and responsibility. The patient's notion that he is ill stands in the way of his understanding of the situation, without which moral change cannot take place. The doctor who pretends to treat is an obstacle to this change, blinding rather than enlightening. Read the whole thing.

Do they except "donations" ... (Below threshold)

Do they except "donations" of volunteers to kill themselves?

I've got a couple in mind. I'll even spring for airfare.

Jeff, I disagree w... (Below threshold)


I disagree with you when you write that depression is the result of poor choices. In some cases that's absolutely true. But in many, many others, depression is a chemical/hormonal issue that may require medication to resolve. Post-partum depression is one example of this kind of depression, which certainly is not the result of poor choices.

Or post-partum depression c... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

Or post-partum depression could just be the startling realization that the mother now has a demanding and often unlovable child to take care of, her life has changed forever, and parenting is hard work. Combine with out-of-wedlock and absentee-father statistics and shazaam - a pretty good recipe for "depression."

"There are a lot of complex emotions and feelings tied up with motherhood that are an integral part of postpartum depression. In the experiences of the mothers themselves, postpartum depression doesn't fit the exact dimensions of what we generally call depression. Women see it very clearly in terms of their experiences as mothers."

"Guilt, Anger and Postpartum Depression," USA Today (Society for the Advancement of Education) Feb. 1998: 15

Jeff, depression, bipolar d... (Below threshold)

Jeff, depression, bipolar disease, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, etc., are way too complex to attribute to choices. However how people choose and act based on their biochemical disorders is variable. Your attributions are not accepted by a majority of professionals in mental health or medical fields.

Back on TOPIC:

Dr Jack killed at least one woman with depression and pelvic pain associated with genital warts.

Time for someone to take an independent and unbiased close look at what's happened here in Oregon very closely, just to see if there's been even one inappropriate death.

epador:"Your attri... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:


"Your attributions are not accepted by a majority of professionals in mental health or medical fields."

Of course not. Confronting people with reality is so much harder than a pat on the back and a prescription. Consensus is often wrong.

For the record, I am on topic. My comment related directly to assertions made in Kim's post. It is so much easier to kill someone who fits the definition of "sick" than one who is responsible for themselves.

Your list of mental disorders is more expansive than I addressed. Some of these things can be the result of traumatic experiences which are beyond our control. A physiological cause is still debatable.

Kim and epador:

I don't expect to get agreement. This is an emotionally charged topic. That's fine. Just food for thought. A few evenings with one of Dalrymple's books would be time well spent. Perhaps you could entertain the thought that my thesis is true in MANY, perhaps not all, cases.

Sorry, Jeff, but you have n... (Below threshold)

Sorry, Jeff, but you have no idea what you're talking about. Your quote is from 1998, which means it's completely outdated and, therefore, irrelevant. A lot of research has been done since then causing every medical organization today to acknowledge that PPD is very real. It happens to too many women all over the world for it to be nothing. I have a feeling you don't know any women who have experienced it.

"PPD is very real"... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

"PPD is very real"

I didn't say it wasn't. We just disagree on the cause and whether it is treatable with drugs.

"I have a feeling you don't know any women who have experienced it."

Let's just say that I have a real problem with a statement like, "Poor Susan Smith. Look what PPD caused." Or similar such cases. Not that I am attributing such an extreme view to you, but this kind of thing is a defense attorney's dream.

From the link: "[The post-partum depression defense] is a hard sell, unless you really understand the process of postpartum psychosis."

To me it looks an awful lot like another excuse for bad behavior and an opportunity for absolution from personal responsibility.

Jeff, you're right about on... (Below threshold)

Jeff, you're right about one thing: we will not agree on this topic.

Let's just say tha... (Below threshold)
Let's just say that I have a real problem with a statement like, "Poor Susan Smith. Look what PPD caused." Or similar such cases. Not that I am attributing such an extreme view to you, but this kind of thing is a defense attorney's dream.

I have a serious problem with PPD being an excuse for bad behavior, too. Susan Smith and Andrea Yates shouldn't ever see the light of day. The point I'm making is that most depression is treatable with medication, which is why clinics like those in Switzerland are horrible. Humans are extinguished because doctors helped depressed people kill themselves without asking any questions or offering any help. It's akin to the pro-abortion crowd that insists on abortion on demand. This is assisted suicide on demand, a self-abortion of sorts.

True. But I still love ya, ... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

True. But I still love ya, Kim. ;-)

C.S. Lewis illustrated for ... (Below threshold)

C.S. Lewis illustrated for us, long ago in his book That Hideous Strength as well as in other writings, that the "clinical" and "scientific" can be more horrifying as a crazed killer on the loose. This story illustrates it yet again.

That being said, don't forget that some depression is not chemical (at least at first). It can be caused by psychological traumas and learned patterns.

Depression is sometimes called a silent killer, because often a suicide attempt is the first sign other people notice. Childhood abuse or neglect, financial situations, even friendships gone sour.

These people are in tremendous torment, chemical or psychological or both. People with depression sometimes cut themselves just to feel alive.

These people want a way to end the pain. Therapy is often too expensive, or not covered by "benefits".

Kim, and Jeff, fortunately ... (Below threshold)

Kim, and Jeff, fortunately this topic is complex enough for both of you to be right. 'Depression' is increasingly diagnosed and treated with drugs, because mood is objectively improved. Whether it should be done with drugs, or even done, is controversial. PPD is bad enough, but when it moves to psychosis, the patient is no longer responsible. I blame those around those two more than I do them.

I haven't time to be more coherent, but the subject is rich. And, like I say, you're both right.

I'm reminded of something I read that stated that the idea that marriage was supposed to bring happiness is a modern notion. Until only very recently, It was not expected. It was hoped for; the bride was wished good luck. The expectations, though, were for children, or social alliances, or shared labour. Now, the half of all marriages fated not to be happy end in divorce, because of unreasonable expectations. Something similar with 'depression'. Who ever promised us a rose garden, that we should be 'happy' all the time.






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