Thursday, November 25, 2021

Swiss assisted suicide doctor does not support euthanasia.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Erika Preisig
Erika Preisig is a doctor and president of assisted suicide organisation Lifecircle. She was recently asked in an interview, with Swissinfo, if Switzerland should allow euthanasia rather than assisted suicide? 

She answered NO and stated:
I don't want to kill anybody.
Preisig correctly differentiates assisted suicide, which is a self-administered suicide death from euthanasia, which is done by lethal injection, done by someone else.

Preisig explains how assisted suicide is possible in all medical conditions, except locked-in syndrome.

To  be clear, I don't support euthanasia or assisted suicide but Preisig's comments are contrary to the comments made by Dr Shavelson in a California court case. Shavelson argues that the California assisted suicide law discriminates against people with certain conditions because they are unable to "self-administer." The California court case, is attempting to permit euthanasia within the assisted suicide law.

Preisig didn't stop there. When asked if the Swiss system is better than the Netherlands system, she responds Yes and stated:

In my opinion, the Swiss model is the best option. Here, the patient has the final say on his/her life.

Doctors should not decide whether a life is not worth living. If doctors can give the injection, how can you be sure that this was really the patient’s wish?
Preisig is not consistent in her message. Concerning euthanasia (death by lethal injection) - how can you be sure that this was really the patient's wish? She also states:

People always talk about the slippery slope this could lead to and potential abuse. But this has never happened in Switzerland, nor in Canada, where euthanasia is legal. 

Preisig's statement about the slippery slope or potential abuse not happening in Switzerland or Canada is clearly a false statement. Canada  and Switzerland have expanded their reasons for allowing assisted suicide and euthanasia. 

Abuse of the law

In October 2019, a Geneva court gave a suspended sentence to the regional vice-president of EXIT, Pierre Beck, for assisting the suicide of an 86-year-old woman who was not sickAccording to Swissinfo, Beck admitted to acting beyond the criteria of the law but he said that he didn't regret his action and faced with a similar situation he would likely do it again.

Candice Lewis
In August 2016, Candice Lewis (25) while receiving treatment at a Newfoundland hospital was pressured to "request" an assisted death.

No one questions that Candice was very sick, but as Candice's mother told CBC news, the doctor pressured her to request physician-assisted death, Candice never asked for it.

Preisig then appears to contradict herself. She states:

Five years ago, I was charged with murder of a very old Swiss lady. She had been at a psychiatric ward for three months and was diagnosed with depression. I had a talk with her son, the chief of the nursing home where she was staying and her caretaker. But I couldn't find a psychiatrist for the assessment.

When you face a court case for murder, and you think you have done everything perfectly right…. you ask yourself, why am I putting myself through this? And you think, why don't I quit (laughter)? But there are so many people who trust me and need my help. This is why I keep going.
It is interesting that she does not recognize that it is impossible to confirm the elderly depressed lady with questionable competency and ability to consent was freely deciding to die. She then says people trust her to provide them the lethal drug cocktail for suicide and that is why she continues.

More articles on this topic:

  • Swiss assisted suicide deaths increase. Problems continue (Link).  
  • Switzerland approves assisted suicide for prisoners (Link). 
  • Nearly every suicide death at Swiss clinic are foreign patients (Link).

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