Sunday, November 9, 2008

German politician offers to assist the suicides of UK residents

Roger Kusch, a former politician was reported in the Sunday Mercury paper as stating that he has been contacted by people in the UK and he is willing to assist their suicides.

Kusch, said that he wanted Germany to replace Switzerland as the destination of choice for Death Tourism from the UK.

Speaking through an interpreter, Kusch said:
“In fact people from Britain have made most of all the inquiries we received from foreign countries.

“And I will go on in assisting people to commit suicide and talk about it.”
Kusch made world-wide headlines last April when he displayed his suicide machine which is a modified perfusor, which is a machine normally used to inject medication over a long period of time. He modified the perfusor by installing a button to allow his suicide victim to start the machine.

Dr. Peter Saunders from the Care Not Killing Alliance in the UK responded to Kusch by stating:
"This guy sounds like Dr Death.

He should be caring for people, not killing them.

In my experience a request for suicide is always a request for help.

Doctors working in palliative care for their whole career will tell you that they come across patients who want to commit suicide.

But once their basic needs are taken care of they could count the number of people who want to go through with it using the fingers on one hand.

In my career as a surgeon I only had two requests and both patients changed their minds once we responded to their own particular needs.

What people need to remember is that in the last five years just over 100 people have gone to Dignitas to die, but in that same time period over 3 million people have died of natural causes.

So no matter what people like Kusch argue, the demand is actually very small indeed.

For example take the case of Dan James. There are over 20,000 tetraplegics in Britain but the vast majority want the help to live, not to die.

I think he (Kusch) is profoundly misguided and is only increasing the risk that vulnerable people will be abused and exploited.

There is a reason assisted suicide is illegal in most of the world, and that is to protect people and increase public safety.

We at Care Not Killing believe that the answer does not lie in suicide but in improving the care for people in the first place.”
Kusch is very clear about his long term goals. He stated:
“We are fighting for the sovereign right of any person to die in dignity.”
Once again, euthanasia and assisted suicide is not about terminal illness, or physical suffering, but rather a univeral right to die for any person who is tired of living.

There have been a number of Private Members Bills related to this issue in recent years (including the Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill) and the Government’s stance has been to remain neutral and to listen to the debate.

Link to the article in the Sunday Mercury:

Link to previous article about Roger Kusch:

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