Australia Dr. Death Says People Keep Coming to Him for Euthanasia Info

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 31, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Australia Dr. Death Says People Keep Coming to Him for Euthanasia Info Email this article
Printer friendly page

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 31, 2006

Maroochydore, Australia ( — Philip Nitschke, the Australian Dr. Death, says he’s having a hard time getting the island nation and New Zealand to change their laws to favor assisted suicide, but he’s still getting lots of people asking him for information about it anyway.

The controversial doctor also said it is getting hard for him to advice people on how to end their own lives because of government crackdowns on doing so.

While he tries to present as much information in his talks in both nations about voluntary euthanasia, he tries to direct people to resources they can use to kill themselves.

That was no exception as he spoke with over 200 people at a meeting in Maroochydore yesterday.

Most of the questions in the forum regarded the Advanced Health Directives, which allow people to refuse medical treatment in various instances. Nitschke said the documents were not necessarily a great alternative to euthanasia or assisted suicide, he said people should be aware of the option.

There is a lot of confusion over this. People think they can fill out their forms and that will allow them to refuse medical treatment – as it should,” he said, according to a Sunshine Coast Daily news report.

But most people at his seminars want to know how to kill themselves, he said.

“They want to know how people use cylinders of helium to end their life," he explained. “They want to know if they can join a group that is going to Mexico to buy their own death drug and bring it back to Australia so they have that particular option sitting in their own cupboard."

Nitschke explains away his advice because he doesn’t want to run afoul of the law.

We get a lot of legal advice and our argument is that by giving people information we are not advising them to suicide any more than we are advising them not to suicide.

“We give people the facts – it’s up to them what they do with them.”