Monday, July 8, 2024

Swiss suicide clinic's many controversial deaths.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Ronny Reyes and Joe Hutchinson and Rory Tingle published an article in the Daily Mail on Sunday July 7 concerning some of the controversial deaths that have happened at a suicide clinic in Switzerland. Since I not want to promote the suicide clinic, I am not stating the name of the clinic.

Catherine Kassenoff in happier times.
Possibly the most controversial death was a New York woman who claimed to have gone to die at the suicide clinic to punish her estranged husband. The authors wrote:

Catherine Kassenoff, from Westchester in New York State, traveled to Basel last May to take her life at the ... which charges $11,000 (£8,600) for what it advertises as death with minimal 'bureaucracy'. 

The 54-year-old lawyer claimed her husband, Alan, had been abusing her and their children for years, and that it led to her taking her own life amid their custody battle, although Mr Kassenoff has denied being abusive.

Alastair Hamilton's mother.
The authors continued:

Among the hundreds who ended their lives there last year was British chemistry teacher Alastair Hamilton, who took a lethal overdose of drugs without telling his family and had no discernable illness, and two American sisters who had become 'tired' of life.

The authors tell the story of Hamilton's death:

The Hamilton family only learned Alastair had taken his life at the clinic after police examined his bank account statements and found that he had transferred thousands of pounds to ... leading his mother Judith to brand it a 'cowboy clinic'. 

Mr Hamilton told his parents he was visiting a friend in Paris when instead he was flying to Basel in Switzerland to end his life.

Shockingly, it took the persistence of Mr Hamilton's devastated family, the Metropolitan Police, the Foreign Office and Interpol to discover what had happened to Alastair after he vanished last summer.

In emails to Alastair's family, a frustrated Met Police sergeant criticised ... 'lack of compassion and lack of transparency' as 'completely unacceptable'. The clinic later vowed to change its procedures to ensure that relatives were always informed in future.

Ammouri Sisters
The authors then write about the deaths of two American sisters who were "tired of life".

In another controversial case, American sisters Ammouri and Susan Frazier decided to die at ... in 2022 because they had become 'tired of life'.  

Dr Ammouri, a 54-year-old palliative care doctor, and Ms Frazier, 49, had been suffering from medical 'frustrations' including chronic insomnia, vertigo and back pain, a doctor they consulted told The Independent

Their grieving brother, Ammouri Ammouri, said he wanted answers over their deaths, telling the New York Post:  'They were so secretive, especially with me.

'Can someone tell me what happened? Do people snap just like that? It could be. You wake up one day and you don't feel like life is precious.'

Laura Henkel
The authors describe the suicide clinic and then continue by writing about the death of Laura Henkel:

Laura Henkel, an Australian woman who allowed her filmmaker daughter to record her final moments at ...was seen laying on the death room's bed during her final moments in December 2019.

She opted for death via intravenous injection, which can be seen beside her bed in an image from the documentary.

Henkel had just turned 90, was not suffering from any terminal illness, and said she was mentally and physically healthy for her age.

But she said she wanted to decide to die on her own terms, before suffering the type of illness commonly associated with very old age that could have prevented her from being able to make that decision.

Henkel traveled to Switzerland because assisted dying was illegal in her home country of Australia.

The article explains that the suicide clinic requires the person to become a member, which costs $110 and then they charge $11,000 for the suicide. From other articles that I have read, they have other death services that are an option that will increase the cost of the suicide.

The authors explain that David Goodall died at the Swiss suicide clinic at the age of 104. Goodall was not sick, but he claimed that he was not well. 

The David Goodall story suggests that elderly people should die at a certain age. During his press conference Goodall was wearing a sweater that stated - ageing disgracefully. The message that some lives are not worth living has eugenic overtones even when it is promoted by someone who is seeking death.

The authors then dig deeper into the story of Catherine Kassenoff. They write:

Catherine Kassenoff travelled to ... in May last year after announcing on Facebook that she was 'ending my own life'.

She had claimed her husband Allan Kassenoff had been abusing her and their children for years, and that it led to her taking her own life.

Allan was given sole custody of their three daughters, with his wife opting to kill herself after she lost visitation rights and being diagnosed with terminal cancer.

New details have since emerged about her suicide, as well as claims from former nannies that Catherine had punished her own adopted daughter by 'dripping water' on her all day so she couldn't sleep. 

She is accused of treating her other daughters who were later born via IVF in a much kinder way.

As part of her Facebook post, Catherine also released thousands of court documents, alongside videos of her husband, in a now defunct Dropbox link.

One of the reports seen by the outlet that was released was written by UK based former psychiatrist Colin Brewer.

Brewer had written in his report for the ... that Catherine was of a 'sound enough mind' to end her life.

Catherine Kassenoff's husband Alan was forced to quit his job as a lawyer following a leave of absence in June, because TikToker Robbie Harvey, an advocate for women in abusive relationships, started uploading videos Catherine had shared on her Facebook.

Her videos were removed but her claims were circulated online and among over 3 million of his followers.

Along with the details of their nasty legal woes and his alleged abuse, Catherine shared videos of Kassenoff throwing tantrums and calling her a 'fat, old loser.'

In another video, he was heard berating the mom-of-three, saying he hated her.

Other clips show him allegedly screaming behind doors, yelling at his kids to 'shut up,' and dramatically leaving their home and refusing to take care of the children that remain in his custody.

Meanwhile, a video of one of their daughters reveals the young girl crying and saying she doesn't 'want to go with that crazy guy.'

The harm done to the family when suicide becomes a weapon of revenge.

Kasenoff sued Harvey last year for him sharing the clips, claiming they led to financial and emotional ruin.

'With a few clicks of his keyboard and a video uploaded to TikTok, Defendant Robert Harvey financially destroyed Plaintiff Allan Kassenoff,' his attorneys wrote in the filing.

'And, even worse, irreparably harmed Mr. Kassenoff's three young children… by forcing them into a life where their identities will forever be associated with a bitter and ugly divorce and the suicide of their mother.'

The lawsuit claims that Harvey's followers 'bombarded' the law firm with more than 7,000 calls and 500 emails accusing him of being the reason Catherine took her life.

Allan had sought out $150m (£117m) to compensate him for his loss of earnings and his 'destroyed reputation. They settled earlier this week for an undisclosed sum.

Euthanasia, assisted suicide, suicide are never good for people or their families. Even in the "worst case" scenario, euthanasia and assisted suicide represent a cultural and medical abandonment of people.

Traditionally, nearly everyone in society opposed killing. Now it has not only become acceptable to kill but in fact society is covering up the reality of killing by further selling the concept to people who do not fit the "typical" case.

Now the pro-death lobby denies the reality that there is a type of push based on a justification of killing. For instance, in Canada most major hospitals have a "MAiD" (euthanasia) team. These teams not only provide euthanasia (kill their patients) they sell euthanasia by asking people who are in the hospital if they want MAiD.

This story clarifies what we have always known. The culture needs to care not kill.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There is rarely a good situation over any planned death. Are the lives of those who die this way so meaningless, so bad, that death is the only solution? Apparently it is not the money. Sometimes an act of kindness toward a mental change of scenery can literally .and the difference between life and death. This is not a facetious suggestion, but sometimes all it takes is a $10 harmonica. Something to bring even small accomplishment. Think outside the restrictive box. Truly, I've seen the harmonica work more than a few times. Obviously, it's not the money, but the lack of joy and the feelings of uselessness.There is always a way. Most often a small act of kindness can build someone's personal self-worth.

Dcn William Gallerizzo