‘Suicide tourism’ increasing in Switzerland

swissSwitzerland is an intriguing a country as it is unique.

I have never been to this modern, efficient country that is said to be a leader in adventure travel, but owning a multi-tooled Swiss Army pocket knife with its usual red handle that features a Victorinox or Wenger “cross” logo, the coat of arms of Switzerland, signifies the closest I had been to the place and is captivating enough for me.

What has made the place exceptionally progressive, expensive and attractive has nothing to do with manufacturing industries, but has more to do instead with being the mecca for offshore banking.

Banking is huge business in Switzerland for no other reasons but for its unrivaled levels of stability and secrecy. What this means is that when somebody puts money in a Swiss Bank Account he/she can be sure that it is SAFE!

But, lately, a stunning report has said that Switzerland has earned the reputation of being the beacon of ‘suicide tourism’.

What this means is that Switzerland has become the favorite place for some terminally ill people to avail of laws permitting assisted suicide without fear of their loved ones, or doctors, being prosecuted.

“Mercy killing” is also legal in the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium and even in some parts of the U.S.

This is an additional phenomenon that is making Switzerland even more unique.

The report comes from a study conducted by Zurich’s Institute of Legal Medicine and published in the Journal of Medical Ethics, which stated that 172 people traveled to Switzerland in 2012, double the number in 2009, and 611 from 31 countries since 2008, to secure the help of six Swiss right-to-die organizations in assisted suicide. The median age was 69.

Assisted suicide has been legal in Switzerland since the 1940s, if performed by someone with no direct interest in the death.

Germans were the largest group, with 268, followed by those from the United Kingdom, Italy and the United States. Most of the deaths were caused by taking sodium pentobarbital in pill form, nicknamed “the peaceful pill.”

The reasons for a choosing to die, the study said, were typically neurological conditions including paralysis, motor neuron disease, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.

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