Former German Politician Makes Suicide Machine to Help Patients Kill Themselves

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 4, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Former German Politician Makes Suicide Machine to Help Patients Kill Themselves Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 4
, 2008

Berlin, Germany ( — A former German politician has made what he calls a suicide machine that he wants to use to help disabled and terminally ill patients kill themselves. Roger Kusch has modified a perfusor, a machine normally used to help patients by allowing the injection of medicine over a long duration.

Kusch has reportedly adjusted the machine to allow patients to set off a mechanism that would administer lethal drugs doctors would prepare.

"It is the most bearable method for those with a death wish," he told CNN in an interview about the machine.

He told the news service he thinks the machine would protect doctors who would assist patients in taking their lives because patients would be able to press the button to begin the administration of the lethal cocktail.

They would receive anesthesia as well as a lethal dose of potassium chloride causing death within minutes.

However, pro-life advocates are already upset by the news.

Wolfgang Huber, the head of Germany’s Lutheran Church, told CNN, "It is against the spirit of our ethics, the spirit of our ethical tradition, the spirit of the Christian image of a human person and against the spirit of our law."

"To those who criticize me, I say: it is none of your business," Kusch told CNN.

But in comments to Cheryl Eckstein, the president of the Canada-based Compassionate Healthcare Network, told, "Of course he is very wrong, it is very much our business."

American bioethics watchdog Wesley J. Smith says the machine is hardly a new idea.

Smith points out that, during his heyday, Jack Kevorkian broke through to international celebrity with his suicide machine. Phillip Nitschke, Australia’s "Dr Death," also invented a suicide machine where the despairing pushed a button on a computer.

And euthanasia advocate Derek Humphry came up with the "debreather" and instructed patients on how to kill themselves using helium and a plastic bag.

‘So, this suicide obsession is hardly news," Smith says. "But it should cause us all to ponder why there is so much interest and fascination with self destruction."