Doctor: 'To the outside observer, nothing looks more peaceful'
(Warning: This story contains content that may offend some readers.)
Elderly people are now buying their loved ones suicide kits as
Christmas gifts, according to a prominent euthanasia physician
nicknamed "Dr. Death."
Dr. Philip Nitschke, founder of Exit International and author of "The
Peaceful Pill Handbook," has explained the use of legal drugs, inert
gases, plastic bags and other methods for committing suicide to
audiences all over the world, including in U.S. cities such as San
Francisco, Calif., and Anaheim, Calif.
He told Australia's Herald-Sun a so-called "peaceful pill" is being
developed from Nembutal, the favored drug for ending life. Nembutal is
the same drug that killed famous actress Marilyn Monroe. It's mostly
used by veterinarians as an anesthetic and euthanasia drug for animals.
The drug is widely available in Mexico for around $30 a bottle, and
Nitschke told ABC News in September he has accompanied terminally ill
patients to buy the drug.
"You pour it into a glass. You drink it. You follow that with your
whiskey, and I've never seen anyone finish their whiskey," he said.
"They put the glass down, and they're gone – gone to sleep, and death
follows shortly thereafter. To the outside observer, nothing looks more
Nitschke conducts closed workshops around the world, open to people
older than 50 who pay $40 and are of "sound mind." He also sells
testing kits that detect levels of Nembutal.
According to his biography, in 1996, Nitschke "became the first
physician to administer a legal, lethal voluntary injection, under the
world's first assisted-suicide law – the Rights of the Terminally Ill
Act of Australia."
Nitschke told ABC News, "I bought a machine. They pressed a button on
the machine. The machine delivered the drugs, and they died in the arms
of the persons they loved. … I knew I was doing the right thing."
He helped four people kill themselves before the law was overturned.
Nitschke argued that if he weren't providing the information, people
"would probably go out and hang themselves."
"This is peaceful. It's quick. It works," he said of one suggested
inert gas method.
Nembutal pills (photo: Exit International)
Asked why he was promoting the "peaceful pill" for Christmas, Nitschke
told the Herald-Sun his methods would always attract criticism.
"Our main opposition is from religious groups who would still be
getting outraged at Easter, or any other time of year for that matter,"
he said in a "peaceful pill" seminar Dec. 16. "There are people here in
this room who I know have bought that (euthanasia medication) for their
loved ones as Christmas presents."
Right to Life Australia Queensland coordinator Graham Preston said, "A
pill to kill yourself and your loved one as a Christmas present is
Nitschke's "The Peaceful Pill Handbook" also includes information on
the use of an "exit bag." His website features a video called "Doing it
with Betty," in which a nurse explains how to assemble a plastic hood
used to place over a suicidal person's head.
She even suggests people get their hair done if they "want to look
"At Exit International, we believe that with knowledge comes
self-determination," Nitschke's website states, "and that means a good
life and good death."
December 17, 2009
The IFRL is the largest grassroots pro-life organization in
Illinois. A non-profit organization, that serves as the state
coordinating body for local pro-life chapters representing thousands of
Illinois citizens working to restore respect for all human life in our
society. The IFRL is composed of people of different political
persuasions, various faiths and diverse economic, social and ethnic
backgrounds. Since 1973 the Illinois Federation for Right to Life has
been working to end abortion and restore legal protection to those members of the
human family who are threatened by abortion, infanticide and euthanasia. Diverse though we are, we hold one common belief - that
every human being has an inalienable right to life that is precious and must be protected. IFRL is
dedicated to restoring the right to life to the unborn, and protection
for the disabled and the elderly. Click here to learn more about the IFRL.