Susanne Fischer, who co-authored the study on assisted suicide at the two clinics, explained that:
* 421 people who had assisted suicide between 2001 and 2004 in Zurich - 274 were Dignitas deaths, 147 were Exit deaths and compared them to 149 assisted suicide deaths by Exit from 1990 - 2000.
* 79% of assisted suicide deaths at Dignitas were terminally ill.
* 67% of assisted suicide deaths at Exit were terminally ill.
* 78% of assisted suicide deaths at Exit were terminally ill (1990 - 2000)
Bernard Sutter, a member of Exit's board told Reuters:
"We help only people with fatal diseases or who are very seriously ill. For the last 12 years, the number suffering from fatal diseases has always been the same, between 65 - 75 percent. The rest, maybe a third or less, are very ill."
"We work with doctors who have their medical code and will not issue a prescription (for lethal drugs) if someone is not in a bad state."
Assisted suicide has been allowed in Switzerland since the 1940's if done by a non-physician who has no vested interest in the death. Both Exit and Dignitas usually use lethal drugs prescribed by a physician to end the lives.
Earlier this year, Ludwig Minelli, the founder and director of the Dignitas clinic, stated that they were using the plastic bag with helium method for assisted suicide. This method eliminates the need for a physician to agree to assisting the death. Even physicians who support assisted suicide will often refuse to write lethal prescriptions for people who are not dying or suffering.
The Reuters article stated that:
Between 2001 and 2004, 91 percent of those who died through Dignitas were foreigners, mostly from Germany, France and Britain. Only 3 percent of those turning to Exit came from abroad, according to the researchers.
Link to the artice from Reuters:
Link to previous blog comment on the Dignitas assisted suicide clinic in Switzerland: