Membership In Swiss Assisted-Suicide Organisations Reaches R...| MENAFN.COM

Saturday, 01 April 2023 10:05 GMT

Membership In Swiss Assisted-Suicide Organisations Reaches Record High

(MENAFN- Swissinfo)
  • Italiano (it) record di iscrizioni alle organizzazioni di assistenza al suicidio

    In 2022, over 17,000 people became members of Exit, the oldest and largest assisted-suicide organisation in the Alpine country. Exit currently has 154,118 members, the highest number since the organisation was founded 40 years ago.

    The main benefit of membership is having access to medically-assisted suicide in the country. Exit provides assistance only to permanent residents in Switzerland and Swiss nationals.

    The trend is in line with the rising number of people who are deciding to end their life with the support of an organisation. According to Exit, 1,125 patients died last year through assisted suicide in Switzerland, compared with 973 in 2021, and 913 in 2020.

    “This is due to the aging society and the increase in the number of people with serious illnesses and disabilities,” Exit explains in a statementexternal link . The average age of patients who died by assisted suicide last year was 79.6, higher than the average age of 78.2 in 2021.

    Patients with terminal cancer accounted for the largest number of people (37%) who resorted to assisted suicide.

    Exit A.D.M.D. Suisse Romande, the organisation's French-speaking counterpart, had 33,411 members by the end of 2022, adding 3,401 new members last year – in all 502 ended their lives.

    More assisted suicides in nursing homes

    The majority of Exit members still choose to die at home (76% in 2022), although the number is falling; they were 81% to do this the previous year. Exit says more patients are choosing to die in nursing homes or hospitals: 18.6% last year, up from 15% the year before and 14% in 2020.

    'More nursing homes and hospitals are allowing assisted suicide for residents or patients,” Exit says.

    Last year, two more cantons allowed medically-assisted suicide in nursing homes and hospitals to respect the patient's right to self-determination. In canton Valais, voters supported a law allowing assisted suicide in all nursing and medical facilities in the region.



    Assisted suicide law approved in Valais

    This content was published on Nov 27, 2022 Nov 27, 2022 Voters in canton Valais have come out in favour of a controversial law regulating palliative care and assisted suicide in the region's care homes.

    The parliament of canton Zurich passed a similar law last May. However, after strong opposition from right-wing parties, the bill was amended to exclude private institutions.

    The French-speaking cantons of Geneva, Vaud, and Neuchatel already allow assisted suicide in hospitals and nursing homes.

    More foreign residents among membership

    Euthanasia or assisted suicide is legal in more than ten countries around the world. However, what makes Switzerland unique among them is that some organisations are willing to accept foreign residents.

    Dignitas, the largest Swiss organisation that accepts foreign residents, is also seeing a growing number of members. It had 11,856 members in 2022 (up by 832 from the previous year). Most of the new members are from the United States (+389), followed by Germany (+164) and the United Kingdom (+95). Over 90% of its members currently live in foreign countries.

    External Content

    However, not all members exercise their right to die. At Dignitas, less than half of the members who have passed a doctor's assessment actually die by assisted suicide. One reason is that many people register in advance, in anticipation of a future illness.

    Dignitas accepts foreign residents as part of its efforts to promote the legalisation of assisted suicide around the world. In Switzerland, Lifecircle and Pegasos, both based in Basel, also offer assisted suicide services to their members. Lifecircle ceased accepting new members in 2022, as the president Erika Preisig reached retirement age.

    Criminal trials

    Although assisted suicide is legal in Switzerland, there is a certain risk for physicians, who can face criminal charges. Only patients with an incurable disease who are in unbearable physical pain and have sound judgment are allowed to apply.

    In 2016, Preisig, the president of Lifecircle, was charged with murder and the violation of the Therapeutic Products Act for helping a mentally ill patient to die without obtaining a specialist's opinion. She was partially acquitted in a second trial in 2021. Both Preisig and the public prosecutor's office have appealed the decision. The case is ongoing.



    Swiss euthanasia doctor acquitted of murder for a second time

    This content was published on May 7, 2021 May 7, 2021 A doctor who helped a mentally ill woman take her life has once more been cleared of intentional homicide.

    Pierre Beck, former vice-president of Exit A.D.M.D. Suisse Romande and a retired doctor, was acquitted in Geneva in a new verdict last month. He helped a healthy 86-year-old woman, who wanted to die alongside her ill husband, to end her life.



    Court clears doctor of alleged assisted suicide crimes

    This content was published on Feb 20, 2023 Feb 20, 2023 A Swiss doctor has been cleared of illegally administering lethal doses of medicine to an elderly woman who wanted to die.

    Last year, the Swiss Medical Association (FMH) tightened its guidelines: it no longer allows suicide assistance for people in good health. The guidelines are not legally binding, but physicians who violate them may face sanctions from the FMH, including deprivation of their medical license.



    Foreigners fret over stricter Swiss rules on assisted suicide

    This content was published on Jul 26, 2022 Jul 26, 2022 The Swiss Medical Association has issued a new rule on assisted suicide that may make access more difficult, sparking concern around the world.

    Edited by Virginie Mangin



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