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'Suicide pod' prototype invented as alternative to assisted death
Featured Image Credit: Exit International / Sarco

'Suicide pod' prototype invented as alternative to assisted death

A prototype of the pod has been created by Exit International

Warning: This article contains references to suicide

Correction: an earlier version of this article stated the Sarco pod had been approved for legal use in Switzerland. This was incorrect.

SwissMedic, the country's agency in charge of regulating medical products, has confirmed that the pod has not been approved for use.

A 'suicide pod' prototype has been created as alternative to assisted death by a pro-euthanasia group.

Philip Nitschke, the former physician and founder of the group Exit International, created the suicide capsule machine.

He wanted to create ‘peaceful, reliable, drug-free’ method of dying, and one that could be used in the complete control of even those who have very severe illnesses such as locked-in syndrome.

The 'suicide pod'.
Exit International

The 3D-printed capsule would give someone who wishes to die legally an alternative to existing legal assisted dying methods, in which patients would have to have a doctor administer liquid sodium pentobarbital.

The solution would make them fall asleep after a few minutes, then into a coma and then eventually die.

But Nitschke machine's approaches the concept of suicide a little differently.

Speaking to LADbible in 2021, Nitschke said: "I’ve always wanted to remove the role [and the] need for professional people to prescribe difficult drugs to use.

"The idea of using a gas, in this case an inert gas came up, because if you can find a suitably elegant and attractive container, climb in, and then flood that container with an inert gas like nitrogen so that the level of oxygen rapidly drops, you rapidly go into a state of cerebral hypoxia, which is pretty quick, and you’ll faint very quickly and die within a few minutes.

“That’s the idea behind it.”

Speaking further to Swiss-info, the creator spoke further about how the 'suicide pod' actually works.

He said: "The person will get into the capsule and lie down. It's very comfortable. They will be asked a number of questions and when they have answered, they may press the button inside the capsule activating the mechanism in their own time.

The pods are legal in Switzerland.
Exit International

"The capsule is sitting on a piece of equipment that will flood the interior with nitrogen, rapidly reducing the oxygen level to 1 percent from 21 percent.

"The person will feel a little disoriented and may feel slightly euphoric before they lose consciousness. The whole thing takes about 30 seconds.

"Death takes place through hypoxia and hypocapnia, oxygen and carbon dioxide deprivation, respectively. There is no panic, no choking feeling."

Nitschke went on to say the user would also get a feeling of euphoria just before they pass out due to the nitrogen, meaning their final moments would be happy and content.

The Sarco pod has not been approved for use.

If you or someone you know is struggling or in mental health crisis, help is available through Mental Health America. Call or text 988 or chat You can also reach Crisis Text Line by texting MHA to 741741.

You can also call 1-800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs” to 66746 at the SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline.

Topics: News, Mental Health