Last update: Wednesday, August 22, 2012 06:37:24 PM
[1) hirschbeck ] [2) gematria ] [3) positivechange [4) Daum ] [5) I miss somebody right now ] [6) Some case reports from 1997 ] [ Meinkampf ] [ Hammurabi ] [ Magna Carta ] [The Communist Manifesto ] [US Constitution ] [Declaration of Independence ] [ Marriage ] [ SamsonBlinded ] [ 11) bad-midos-to-avert-or-reverse ] [ 12) 13 good-midos ] [ 13) 30 good midos ] [ 7) intro to elders ] [ 8) protocol 01 ] [ 9) protocol 02&03 ] [ 10) protocol 04&05 ] [ 11) protocol 06&07 ] [ 12) protocol 08&09 ] [ 13) protocol 10 ] [ 14) protocol 11&12 ] [ 15) protocol 13&14 ] [ 16) protocol 15 ] [ 17) protocol 16&17 ] [ 18) protocol 18&19 ] [ 9) protocol 20 ] [ 20) protocol 21&22 ] [ 21) protocol 23&24 ]
Place of residence: A village near Lucerne.
Diagnosis: Amyotroph/c Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
Apart from a 'sciatic hernia'-operation, Rubin T.
had never been ill before. About five years ago, however, he began to suffer
paralysis in his feet. Slowly the paralysis spread through the lower extremities
and after two years Rubin was entirely dependent on a wheel chair. Later he
became partially paralyzed in the chest area and in his arms and finally he had
great difficulties breathing and swallowing. The patient knew his condition was
irreversible and would culminate in a respiratory paralysis. He was also aware
that he would be totally dependent on other people's care for the rest of his
life. Therefore, he decided to contact EXIT.
the suicide assistant first visited Rubin's family, the family members were
unsure how they should react. Rubin T. was complaining about increasing pain and
his wife was afraid she soon wouldn't be able to look after him anymore as she,
herself, was suffering from cancer metastases and was expected to undergo
operation. The patient, on the other hand, refused to go to a nursing home.
Accepting this wish was one of the major aspects in the family s decision-making
and finally they acceded to Rubin's decision to commit suicide.
day of his death the united family warmly received us. Everybody, wife, son,
daughter and son-in-law, agreed that assisted suicide was the best solution in
this hopeless situation. Their family doctor, who had witnessed Rubin's decline
over the years also felt that this was the best decision in the circumstances.
a heartbreaking farewell to his family Rubin T. drank the barbiturate, which had
been dissolved in a deciliter of water. During the ensuing few minutes they
wished each other well and soon thereafter, Mr. T Lost consciousness, breathing
deeply and with a contented smile on this face. Ten minutes later he stopped
breathing and shortly afterwards, no pulse could be discerned. The family stayed
with Rubin for a short while praying and expressing hope of a reunion in heaven.
it is classified as an exceptional death, the police and a coroner must
investigate each suicide. Rubin lived in an isolated, sparsely populated,
mountainous area of Switzerland and suicides are comparatively rare in this
region. The police officers notified, were uncertain as to how they should
proceed. They recorded our statements, called for re-enforcement and finally for
the examining magistrate. The widow was spared long questioning and others
present were questioned in a friendly manner. Then peace returned to the
deathbed and we left. Everyone present thanked us for our assistance. Father
McDonald still keeps in contact with the bereaved family.
Patient Wily B. (1926)
Place of residence: An industrial town near Zurich
Diagnosis: Cancer of the pancreas with multiple metastases.
the barbiturate intravenously is not the usual method of assisted suicide.
Therefore two EXIT representatives, a physician and a lay person together with
the patient's daughter were present when the infusion was administered. Wily B.
was instructed how to use the three way switch controlling the infusion.
she had closed it, the barbiturate was injected into the infusion and within two
minutes of opening the switch herself she fell into a deep sleep yawning
peacefully. Seven minutes later breathing and pulse stopped.
the coroner nor the examining magistrate showed any concern about the uncommon
method of assisted suicide used in this special case. The bereaved daughter was
relieved that her mother was spared any further suffering and was also glad that
Wily B. could depart in dignity.
Patient Linda B. (1913)
Place of residence: At the lake of Zurich.
Diagnosis Cancer of uterus (1965);Cancer of the small intestine (1986): metastasing
Cancer of the colon (1995).
Linda B., a
widow, had been living alone for many years. She was financially secured and
lived in a five-bedroom villa at the lake of Zurich. In the course of the past
three decades she had undergone several operations, radiotherapies and
chemotherapies. Nevertheless she had kept her happy disposition and had always
accepted her fate. Only lately, as a result of serious complications with her
colon cancer, she began to take stock of her life. An almost complete
obstruction of the bowels made it impossible for her to take any solid food. She
also had to deal with faecal vomitus.
first her family doctor disapproved of the idea of assisted suicide. Yet Linda
B. came to an agreement with him and contacted EXIT requesting assistance
towards a hastened dignified death.
wasn't able to take the barbiturate orally because of her bowel obstruction so
EXIT contacted her doctor and asked him to prepare an intravenous saline
infusion, to which he agreed. The EXIT suicide assistant instructed the patient
how to use the three-way switch and then injected a lethal dose of the
barbiturate into the infusion. He asked the moribund patient to open the switch
when she was ready. Surrounded by mourning family members she quietly fell into
her eternal sleep.
after her death, which occurred within less than fifteen minutes, an uncommonly
large police contingent arrived with detectives, examining magistrates,
coroners, etc. The district medical officer showed some consternation regarding
the administration route of the barbiturate. However, since the patient had
switched on the infusion herself and since 6 family members as well as two EXIT
representatives had witnessed this, the magistrate didn't take any further
steps. The mourners were obviously relieved. Together with the
EXIT-representatives they left the house of their mother and grandmother leaving
a light in the bedroom of their beloved dead.
Patient Martha. H (1932)
Place of residence: a small village in the alps
Diagnosis: Amyolorphic lateralsclerosis (ALS) - late phase
H.'s husband consulted me personally seeking our assistance. His wife's health
had worsened in the course of the preceding weeks. Martha H. had been suffering
from the neuromuscular illness ALS for two years and at the time of her husbands
call she could utter only inarticulate sounds. Furthermore, she had problems
swallowing. After talking to her doctor on the phone I went to see the patient
right away. The attending physician had confirmed Martha H.'s desperate state of
health and the rapid progression of this genetically caused illness for which
there is no cure.
visit, Mrs. M.H. was sitting in her wheelchair. Her legs and arms were paralyzed
and she could move her right arm only. Nevertheless she seemed pleased to see me
and expressed her joy with lively movements of her eyes and by nodding her head.
She understood everything but could only answer by scribbling big, shaky
letters. To find out if the patient was still able to drink and swallow I handed
her a glass of water. Promptly she choked and coughed out most of the liquid.
That same day, I contacted her doctor again to discuss further procedures. As
the patient was already being fed through a tube, this method was certainly the
best. The remnants of strength and agility left in the patient's arm were
considered sufficient for her to take the barbiturate herself.
days later, on the date chosen personally by Mrs. M.H., the suicide assistance
took place. Her husband, two sons with their wives, and 1, as a suicide
assistant of EXIT, were present. Five minutes after taking the barbiturate the
patient fell into a deep sleep. Ten minutes later, her breathing, and shortly
afterwards, her heart stopped. Mrs. M.H. died peacefully in the arms of her
husband. The relatives asked me to remain seated quietly for a further ten
minutes to respect the dead.
as required by law, I called the police. They must be informed of every
'uncommon' death and I was rather surprised when only the district medical
officer and a police official arrived. Later I was told that the family doctor
had already informed the responsible authorities about the planned suicide. The
patient's wish had been fulfilled: She had died in peace and tranquility
surrounded by her closest relatives.
Patient Andre C. (1949)
Place of residence: Zurich
Diagnosis: AIDS, advanced stage (Illc)
leading doctor of an AlDS-hospice drew my attention to a patient who was in a
deplorable state of health. On the same day I visited the critically ill man and
had a private talk with him.
was hemiplegics and had difficulties speaking. He understood everything and made
it absolutely clear he didn't want any specific therapy apart from palliative
treatment. Mr. C. had written to his family doctor and his two brothers, who
lived in the western part of Switzerland, informing them about his decision to
commit suicide with the help of EXIT. Everyone, even the doctor in charge of the
AIDS - hospice regarded the suicide as the only option to end his unbearable
suffering. (The diagnosis of the AIDS specialist was: AIDS Illc).
days after my first visit the patient was brought, in a wheelchair, to his
apartment where the euthanasia took place in the presence of his two brothers.
(Two minutes after taking the barbiturate Mr. C. fell asleep and after another
eight minutes his breathing and heart stopped).
Patient Ulla G. (1947)
Place of residence: Zurich
Diagnosis: Breast cancer (metastasing mammacarcinoma)
the end of May 1997 Mrs. G. asked EXIT for a meeting with a suicide assistant.
She was suffering steadily increasing difficulties in breathing caused by the
amputation of both breasts. They had Punctured her several times", she told
the EXCIT representative and each time had sucked out between half and one liter
of a bloody liquid. Lately she had suffered unbearable pains, which had only
been brought under control with high doses of MST (a morphine derived drug which
can be taken orally). Such a high dosage of MST can lead to interrupted
breathing especially if the patient already suffers from pleural effusions,
which also cause breathing difficulties.
patient looked happy and regarded her approaching death with composure. She was,
she maintained, a 'converted Buddhist'. Her 80-year-old mother was looking after
avoid vomiting Mrs. G. was given two tablets of Dramamine. After half an hour
she took 1Og of a strong barbiturate, which was dissolved in a deciliter of
water. The solution is bitter but no one, to date, has refused the solution on
grounds of the bitter taste. Five minutes after taking the barbiturate the
patient fell asleep peacefully. Ten minutes later her breathing stopped and soon
thereafter her heart stopped. The elderly mother was grateful, because her
daughter had been spared a horrible death by suffocation.
Patients: Anonymous -- A (1911) and B (1913)
Place of residence: Lago Maggiore, Ticino
A: metastasing breast cancer
B: Endangitis obliterans (smoker's)
couple A and B wished to die together. They had been successful business people
outside of Switzerland but had chosen to retire to a villa above the Lago
Maggiore. Both were very ill and suffered greatly. The wife had had two
operations (a mastectomy; removal of both breasts). At that point in time she
was tormented by multiple metastases in her spine, ribs and pelvis.
husband, B, was suffering from a painful circulatory disturbance in his legs
caused by excessive smoking. Their family doctor confirmed the diagnoses and the
hopeless prognoses. He refused, however, to prescribe two fatal doses of a
suicide assistants of EXIT traveled to the Ticino after the manager had ensured
that all requirements for assisted suicide had been satisfied. There they were
to assist the couple in their joint suicide. At first, Giula and B lay in
separate rooms as they wished to speak privately to their respective suicide
they lay down together to pass away hand in hand. Both were full of praise for
the way EXIT had assisted them during the last hours prior to death. Their only
daughter said goodbye to her parents and they died peacefully, after taking the
barbiturate, within 10 and 20 minutes respectively.
suicide is relatively rare in Ticino and because the police were unsure how to
proceed, the examining magistrate requested a coroners report which proved
0Patient Samuel B. (1923)
Place of residence: Zurich.
Diagnosis: Amyotrophic Lateralsclerosis (ALS)
In the fall
of 1993, Samuel B., an internationally famous concert pianist, first felt his
legs become limp. Within a short period of time he was partly paralyzed. He
consulted a neurologist who examined him with electromyelography and provided
Samuel B. with a diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). This illness
of the nervous system usually follows a chronic progressive course and after a
few years the patient generally dies of respiratory paralysis. Two years later,
Samuel B's illness had progressed to the extent that the patient's legs were
totally paralyzed, which meant that he required a wheelchair. Increasingly, the
muscles of his midriff and back became paralyzed. The patient was suffering
especially at night, he had difficulty breathing. His pain could not be relieved
by an opiate as he was already suffering from respiratory depression.
January 1997 Mr. B. called EXIT and asked for immediate help. His condition had
significantly deteriorated. Visiting the patient, it was obvious that he had
difficulties not just with breathing but also with swallowing. We made an
appointment. Samuel B. had to sort out some family affairs before he was ready
days later the 'assistance' (euthanasia) took place with an EXIT doctor, just as
the patient had requested. Seven minutes afler taking the barbiturate, Samuel B.
died in the arms of his wife. Every one present was relieved that he had been
spared weeks of suffering, breathing difficulties and intolerable pain.
Patient Jakob H. (1929)
Place of residence: Zurich
Mr. and Mrs.
H. called to my office. Mr. Jakob H. was limping and his wife had to assist him
when he was walking. He wanted to die with the help of EXIT as soon as possible
because he could hardly bear the pain in his leg. His pain was caused by a
circulatory disturbance and Mr. H. refused to have his leg amputated, a step,
which sooner or later would have been inevitable. At night he slept for one hour
at most and then only while sitting on a chair. Some of his toes were already
necrotic and on his right ankle he showed me an open, foul-smelling growth.
H. had been a passionate smoker for decades. Even when his family doctor
strongly advised him to give up smoking he paid no attention. Nothing could keep
him from indulging in this passion.
diagnosis of endangitis obliterans had been confirmed radiologically and
assisted suicide was arranged for May 22nd. The 'playboy' Mr. H. received a
suicide assistant and myself with extreme friendliness, even somewhat
euphorically, while his wife appeared rather reserved. Mr. H. entertained
everyone present (his wife, son, brother, a couple they were friendly with, the
suicide assistant, who was relatively inexperienced at that time and myself) to
a goodbye party at his home bar.
taking an 'antiemetic' the patient's last wish was to smoke a final cigarette.
Fifteen minutes after taking the barbiturate, J.H. died peacefully among his
friends and family of a respiratory and cardiac arrest.
Patient Anna B. (1910)
Place of residence: a mountain village near Chur
Diagnosis: Metastasing basal cell epithelioma of the vulva
On June 11th
the genera! practitioner and former student of mine, Dr. Werner R wrote to me
about his cancer patient Anna B. who had no hope of cure or respite and who was
suffering from severe and painful complications of her condition.
patient Anna B. was suffering from metastases of an epitheliums of the vulva
(cancer of the greater labia). Three years before the labia had been operatively
removed and at the time of his letter, metastases had appeared in the Lymphatic
gland and the ribs. There was no hope of cure or recovery for the patient.
B. declined any form of further therapy such as surgery, radiotherapy, or
family doctor came to meet me personally at the train station of the famous
winter health resort and brought me to the restaurant and hotel, that had
previously been run by Mrs. Anna B. Both her sons received us warmly. The
emaciated patient was sitting crouched down in the background. Her mind was
calmly set on her immediate death and she saw this option as the only way to
find relief from her infinite suffering.
B. fell into a peaceful sleep within a few minutes of taking the barbiturate and
fifteen minutes later her breathing and pulse stopped. Everyone present
expressed relief especially her two sons who prayed at their mother's deathbed.
police were called and they themselves mobilized the responsible medical
officer, i. e. the coroner. The coroner instructed the GP by phone to release
the body for burial without any post mortem examination.
Patient Peter McG (1939)
Place of residence: a small town near Zurich.
Diagnosis: metastasing prostate cancer, pain unrelieved by morphine.
family doctor drew my attention to the patient's unbearable suffering. He asked
me to get in contact with Peter as soon as possible.
old wooden house, I found Peter in a small, musty, living room, surrounded by
countless books. He was suffering acute pains that radiated from his spine into
the back and down the legs. We didn't talk about his illness and his hopeless
future. (I knew enough about that from his doctor.) Instead we discussed books,
mainly those dating from before World War II. Peter McG. wasn't only an
antiquarian but also a successful author. Before I left he told me he was
determined to put an end to his unbearable life. If EXIT didn't help him he
would know what he had to do.
months after this conversation Peter McG. called me up again. His condition had
worsened. He wasn't able to sleep even with large dosages of morphine. However,
he wanted to finish a final piece of work before putting an end to his Life.
This decision was clearly stated to his family doctor on several occasions.
doctor himself sympathized with him knowing about the patient's intolerable
situation and hopeless prognosis.
by his family, a son, a daughter and other relatives, Peter McG. took the deadly
dosage of the barbiturate. The family doctor and a suicide assistant were also
present. Two minutes after taking the drug, Peter fell into a deep sleep. Soon
afterwards his heart stopped for an instant and ten minutes later he died.
Everyone present heaved a sigh of relief and was glad that Peter McG. could die
in peace and dignity.
Patient Werner B.(1939)
Place of residence: Village at the lake of Lucerne.
Diagnosis: Metastasing cancer of the large intestine (Sigmoid)
1996 Mr. Werner B. had been suffering indefinable pains in his stomach. On
several occasions he visited his doctor and was examined by gastroscopy and
ultrasound but nothing was found and he was regarded a malingerer! In the fall
of 1996, Mr. B. collapsed while on holiday in Spain and had to return to
Switzerland ahead of schedule. He went to his family doctor suffering unbearable
pain, a distended abdomen and continual constipation. Although the patient had
lost seven kilos weight, his doctor wasn't at all alarmed.
end of 1996 Mr. H. was hospitalized as an emergency. The surgeon, a Dr. W.,
found an inoperable colon tumor. The patient could only be treated palliatively,
via an 'anus praetor' (colostomy).
first visit Mr. B. showed great relief about my assistance but was very
concerned about the fact that he soon would not be able to swallow anymore.
arranged for the euthanasia to take place two days later. The patient was still
very weak but was able to drink through a straw. Half an hour after taking two
tablets of Dramamine he drank a solution of 1Og of barbiturate. Sobbing and
crying, his relatives said goodbye to him and soon afterwards he fell into a
deep sleep, which changed, to a coma-like state and then to death.
surprised by the fact that only the examining magistrate and a police officer
arrived at deceased man's apartment and that they didn't insist on any
examining magistrate respected the wishes of the relatives and allowed the body
to be returned to the bereaved family after the obligatory coroner's
examining magistrate gave me lift to the next train station where he thanked me
for the exemplary collaboration.
Patient Lilly R. (1930)
Place of residence: Zurich
Diagnosis: metastasing cancer of the skeleton and lungs Primary focus unknown.
1995 Mrs. R. had been treated by physicians and in hospitals. The illness began
with a growth on her arm but the primary focus could not be established. In the
course of three years multiple metastases appeared on the skeleton, in the lungs
and on the skin.
patient suffered greatly and was nursed in a clinic where she refused to take
any further treatment. The senior consultant of the clinic brought her case to
our attention. On my first visit I met an emaciated woman who had difficulty
breathing despite the provision of an additional oxygen supply. Two days later,
accompanied by her lawyer, she was taken to her sister's house by ambulance. She
received a constant supply of oxygen from hospital personnel during the journey.
patient was so weak that she fell asleep while drinking the barbiturate and
after 12 minutes she was already dead. Half an hour later the police, the
district medical officer and the district attorney arrived. We had phoned them
after Mrs. R.'s death. They did not insist on a coroner's report and allowed the
body to be buried.
Prof. Schaer's report issued by EXIT, Switzerland,
and distributed by ERGO! (Euthanasia Research & Guidance Organization)
Junction City, OR
Meinrad Schaer -- bio:
of social and preventive medicine at the University of Z|rich for over 20 years,
and former Vice-Director of the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health. . One of
the founders of EXIT -
the Swiss Association for Human Dying - and its president for many years.