Switzerland Halts Rollout Of ‘Sarco’ Suicide Pods, Dubbed “Tesla Of Euthanasia”

Just weeks before its scheduled first use, a futuristic pod dubbed the ”Tesla of euthanasia”, designed to carry out assisted suicides, has been banned in  Switzerland. Notably, the coffin-like death pod named Sarco would enable a euthanasia patient to press a button and die within seconds, as the chamber fills with nitrogen, depriving the person of oxygen. 

According to Blick, a local news outlet, prosecutors in Schaffhausen Canton, Switzerland, have now raised legal and ethical concerns about the pod. They pointed to uncertainties about how the device operates and the challenge of determining who bears ultimate responsibility for the death that occurs within it.

The prosecutors from Schaffhausen also issued a warning that anyone using the pods to assist in someone’s death could face imprisonment for up to five years.

The pod was unveiled at the Venice Design Festival in 2019 and aims to eliminate the discomfort associated with death. Dr. Philip Nitschke, nicknamed ”Dr. Death”, asserted that his invention could enable users to die swiftly and painlessly.

However, Peter Sticher, a public prosecutor, cautioned that Mr Nitschke would face serious consequences for aiding, abetting, and inducing suicide, particularly if done for selfish reasons.

In a letter obtained by Swiss media, Mr Sticher said: ”There is no reliable information about the method of killing. [It is] completely unclear who has control over which mechanical process during the dying process.”

According to prosecutors, under section 115 of the penal code of the canton, it would be difficult to determine who would be legally responsible for the act of euthanasia.

Critics across the world have also raised concerns that the device could be misused or malfunction, potentially leading to unintended consequences. Massachusetts Institute of Technology criticised the controversial technology, saying that if the device malfunctioned, it would fail to induce a state of unconsciousness in the user, likely leading to a painful death.

Meanwhile, pro-life groups have warned that the sleek, futuristic-looking pods ”glamourise suicide”. James Mildred, director of engagement at CARE said, ”We believe that suicide is a tragedy that good societies seek to prevent in every circumstance. There are ethical ways to help human beings that don’t involve the destruction of life.”

Critics also fear that the design of Sarco could appeal to vulnerable individuals who may seek suicide without fully considering the serious implications.

Since 1942, Switzerland has permitted assisted suicide, with advocates emphasizing personal choice and control over the dying process as fundamental principles. Swiss law stipulates that individuals seeking to end their own lives must be of sound mind and their decision should not be motivated by selfish reasons.

Enable Notifications OK No thanks