If you are reading this after following the international headlines, then chances are you know what euthanasia is. In recent years, euthanasia has been a hot topic of debate in international media. In one of a kind example, the Swiss government has concluded the moral and ethical debate by legalising assisted suicide devices (Sarco) for those who want them – but only if they have a terminal disease and no chance of cure.
The word euthanasia comes from a Greek word that means “good death/death with dignity”. Euthanasia is the act of voluntarily ending one’s own life or assisting another person with their suicide. Assisted suicide is a procedure where a physician provides a patient with the means to commit suicide, such as a lethal drug dose, but does not provide the intention. It means a patient can choose when to end his life because someone else has a legal shelter to provide him with the necessary equipment.
It is not the first time any country has permitted suicide before. As society becomes more educated on death, attitudes towards physician-assisted suicide have become less polarised. Australia, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, and Switzerland are the countries that allow qualified terminally ill patients to voluntarily request and receive assisted suicide help to hasten their death. As of April 2021, aid in dying statutes has been passed in many states of the USA, too. Although in one of her states, Montana, physician-assisted dying has been legal by State Supreme Court ruling since 2009.
A thing to note here is that Switzerland’s assisted suicide laws have been enforced since 1942, the oldest than any other country. It has given Swiss law an edge over other countries on a crucial health issue and an economic opportunity. Many incurable patients worldwide prefer Switzerland to avoid legal complexities in their own countries. As per statics, approximately 1,300 people died by assisted suicide in Switzerland in 2020, among whom over 2/3 were foreigners.
Exit International, a non-profit organisation, makes the newly legalised suicidal pods. As per the creators, the device is beneficial to people with incurable illnesses and disabilities. The Swiss government has provided legal cover for assisted suicide to be carried out at home with some conditions. This device can also be made at home with the help of 3D printers.
To qualify for the euthanasia device, the person must be over eighteen and have a terminal illness or unendurable disability. The person must also have expressed their wish to die to their doctor and family members can inflict the drug themselves. The ‘Sarco’ device is a three-step process: users swallow liquid medication and then connect a tube to their car’s exhaust, which leads to the vehicle’s interior. They then wait for death without feeling any pain or discomfort. The whole process takes 30 seconds.
Though, a part of the Swiss community still thinks it is wrong to take away someone’s right to live. Nevertheless, many believe it is the act of deliberately ending a person’s life to relieve intractable suffering or pain that cannot be controlled in any other way. It would be much better for incurable patients if they could die peacefully at home with their loved ones instead of having them suffer in the hovel of a nursing home. In 2016 alone, about half a million deaths in the United States due to cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
Even though it is not as common to die from an incurable condition nowadays as in the past, this still affects many people who spend a great deal of time living with severe physical limitations because of illness. This was a big reason why doctors began making recommendations for euthanasia. If there is no cure for a patient, even if the person can still feel some degree of pleasure from life, doctors might benefit from ending the patient’s life rather than prolonging his suffering.

There is no doubt that other societies will continue to learn and grow from experiences with these procedures. We can say that human organisations now recognise and accept that human life has a natural end; as such, it should not be preserved simply because of legal or ethical dilemmas against the will of the stoic. For many, dying well matters more than living long because the latter usually does not give them the chance to do the former.