The man who’ll teach you how to end your life

Dr Philip Nitschke Philip Nitschke is an Australian doctor who believes everyone over 50 years old should have an end of life plan. He doesn’t offer to help you die, but he does believe in providing us all with the know-how to do it ourselves if we want to. (He explains himself in detail in this interview.) He’ll be on Thursday’s show to talk with you, and you can post questions now.

At the moment, he’s in UK (after initially being detained at Heathrow) as is holding workshops which run the audience through the drugs and equipment needed to commit suicide.

Do you believe in what he is doing? Is it right that we all have the knowledge to give ourselves this way of ending of our life if we choose?

Or does this undermine the fundamental human instinct of not giving up on life?

Shouldn’t we be concerned that those who are seriously ill may have given up on their prospects when, given time and a possible improvement in their health, they may once again want to keep on living?

You can post any question you like and we’ll do our best to get you an answer tomorrow. If you’d like to come on air and speak to Dr Nitschke then please also leave your phone number (which we won’t publish).

143 Responses to “The man who’ll teach you how to end your life”

  1. May 6, 2009 at 17:10

    Dear Dr. Philip Nitschke,
    I am not more than 50 but I see no reason for me to live again, I tried suicide three times but failed. Life has no meaning to me any more since 1994 genocide in Rwanda that took away almost my family, and now here where I live as a refugee I’ve known misery, suffering, injustice, all I can name, the best thing for me is to die but how? your answers will be of great help to me.

  2. 3 steve
    May 6, 2009 at 22:15

    Wait, the UK won’t allow in a radio “shock jock” but they will let in someone who tells people how to kill themselves? That results in deaths. I’m curious, hateful speech isn’t killing anyone, but this guy will lead to the deaths of people. Is it because perhaps the UK wants to save money on healthcare costs by getting people to kill themselves rather than pay for medical care? More selective outrage by the government?

    • 4 Maxben
      May 21, 2009 at 08:28

      What an idiotic question. Are you comparing the right to decide what you do with your own body to the right to encite hate? See, one is a public matter and one is a personal matter. The government have no right to stop that which is a personal choice, but that which is made public and is a danger to the public is definitly under their jurisdiction. As for you, how come public hate speech is not a problem while a personal choice is? Selective outrage or bigotry?

  3. 5 globalcomedy
    May 7, 2009 at 01:27

    I’m not sure about this. While suicide is illegal, people also deserve to have some control and dignity if they become terminally ill.

  4. 6 Dennis Junior
    May 7, 2009 at 07:30

    Dr Philip Nitschke:

    Why the specific age of 50 years of age…For the age of committing suicide?!?…

    ~Dennis Junior~

    • 7 Dennis Junior
      May 7, 2009 at 18:50

      Revised to the original question: What is the reason for 50 years old (of age) to “start the ending of your life”….

      ~Dennis Junior~

  5. 8 Morrison Hoyle
    May 7, 2009 at 07:50

    As a British born now naturalised Australian, I am disappointed to learn that Philip Nitschke is not to be allowed to speak to groups of people in the UK who may choose to end their own life with dignity without the intervention of others.

    I strongly support Dr. Nitschke. He does not attempt to persuade anyone to commit suicide. The consequences for many who do attampt suicide but fail are often disastrous, not only for them but for their family and friends who are left to deal with the mental and physical damage caused.

    I think of the people who witness suicides such as those who jump in front of a train, the trauma for the train driver and those who have to pick up the remains from the rail track. Surely a peaceful exit in the ways open to those who read Dr. Nitschke’s books or hear his lectures is something that should not be denied to those who have carefully considered all aspects of their action.

    • May 7, 2009 at 10:01

      No matter how ‘peaceful’ the exit is, Morrison, there will always be someone left to pick up the reamins be it from a rail track, or from the bed at home. There will always be someone left wondering, “how did things become so bad for my friend that he/she wanted out of life so badly that he/she took the time to get a professional lesson in suicide?”
      And then there will be the trauma of “could it be possible that Xyz committed suicide because I was so unkind to them?”. There is no denying that suicides always leave more trauma behind than murder of natural death does, sadly your ‘Doctor Nitschke” has done nothing to address that.
      There is also the point that some tried suicide and failed, or were rescued and got on to be reintegrated into the land of the living, with Doctor Nitschke, nobody gets to have a second chance at living, do they?

  6. May 7, 2009 at 09:06

    It is a good thing having this man on air just a day after we talked about people who should be banned. I am curious, what informs his choice of age 50 as a good time to know how to die? And does the doctor gentleman think that by doing it ‘yourself’ it becomes anything short of murder? Many people who attempted suicide and failed lived to have meaningful lives and are thankful for the fact that their attempts failed… now thanks to this doctors (I wish he were a retired General of an army, not a doctor!), they won’t live to have a rethink, they will be gone at the first try.
    Now I know, I do not need any government to publish a banned list for me to know who to avoid, this doctor is sure on my own list. Sometimes it is safer not to know how to shoot a gun, than to know and then promise not to shoot.

  7. 11 agaidagan
    May 7, 2009 at 10:02

    I’ve always had strong views on dignity in later life. Because of medical advances we are living far longer lives, consequently many of us live in fear of being kept alive even when our brains have stopped funcioning at a level we understand to be meaningful. I’ve often thought to myself that If I am unable to read, make a cup of tea and have to have someone wipe my bum then its time to go. I am an atheist so going hasn’t any weird conotations for me, for that I am thankful, and to be helped with information about dying with dignity at the time of my choosing can only be benificial to my wellbeing at the present because the fear of dying a long and painful death is always at the back of ones mind when one enters their sixth decade.

  8. May 7, 2009 at 10:57

    I don’t think this man should allowed to appear live on the BBC, but it’s also good to know about such man. I really think I don’t need to know how I want my life to end, because it’s traumatic even knowing how and when you will die.

  9. 13 Joan Ghali
    May 7, 2009 at 11:59

    This gentleman suitably named ‘Dr Death’ should never have been allowed to enter Britain to play GOD.

    Legally,he is also in violation of the 1961 Suicide Act punishable by locking up in prison for fourteen years.He is also in violation of the Hippocrates Oath for Doctors committed by law to preserve life.

    The only choice that this sad negative person has to offer us is negativity and destruction of life.He should be arrested and locked up for breaking British Law.

    How dare he try to play GOD with vulnerable peoples lives!

  10. 14 Joan Ghali
    May 7, 2009 at 12:07

    I would like to teach him how to stay positive and focused and face up to reality , mind his own business and to stop trying to play GOD with other peoples lives.

  11. May 7, 2009 at 13:12

    Suicide is for those who have given up on life. I am not an overly religious person but I firmly believe that God will not give you more than you can handle.
    Anyone who considers suicide needs to get mental help NOW! I would hope that this Doctor is only giving adivise to those who are terminaly ill.

  12. 16 Craig Eastman
    May 7, 2009 at 13:48

    I would like to ask Dr Nitschke if he has ever given advice to a member of his own family or a close acquaintance. While I agree with his guidance in theory, I imagine facing the prospect of advising a loved one as something of a watershed in his beliefs. In response to Joan Ghali, I would also like to know in what way, shape or form she considers the Dr to be “playing god”; a phrase she seems happy to bandy about with ill-defined justification. The notion of playing god is irrelevant to those of us who do not believe in one.

  13. 17 Francis
    May 7, 2009 at 14:06

    I wonder if this guy can kill himself if he is faced with what those he wants to teach face. Is he doing this for money or fame or what?

    I would never do it

  14. 18 Joseph Green
    May 7, 2009 at 14:42

    We all know that controversy sells, and cringe when the opportunistic gutterpress claim lofty ideals, such as free speech, in order to justify their promotion of controversial smut.

    However, would you agree that:
    Pragmaticism demands accountability, and that the uncontrolled availability of such resources is highly irresponsible.
    Age does not necessarily indicate good judgement, especially when one is suicidal.
    A mere warning on a website, asking the user to confirm that they are over a certain age by clicking a button, is a highly ineffective means of restricting access to such materials.

  15. May 7, 2009 at 14:49

    Dr. Nitschke
    What would you do in the case of chronic drug addicts or MS patients who wished to die but haven’t the financial resources?
    How long before governments step in and decide who lives and who doesn’t, if they are not doing it already, do you think?

  16. 20 Roy, Washington DC
    May 7, 2009 at 14:57

    I agree with agaidagan. If I came down with a terminal illness, and keeping me “alive” would mean such a drastic reduction in quality of life, it would be a small comfort to know the option is there. We regularly euthanize pets so that they won’t have to endure a reduced quality of life; why not give humans the same option? (Of course, it should always be the individual’s own choice.)

  17. 21 Joan Ghali
    May 7, 2009 at 14:58

    In reply to Mr. Craig Eastman please also respect the views and democracy of the majority of world citizens who do believe in GOD….to be precise that is approximately 88% of the world’s population….we are in the majority after all.

    • 22 Craig Eastman
      May 7, 2009 at 16:11

      Miss Ghali. Assuming that only one of the world’s religions can, by definition, be considered the “true religion”, that somewhat reduces your 88% does it not?. I’m assuming you don’t believe in them all. I’d also like you to answer my original question which you seem keen to ignore in favour of irrationally lashing out. My statement in no way disrespected those who hold religious beliefs, as anyone who cares to read it can clearly see for themselves. Your impassioned retort and inability to answer the question posed seems to belie someone incapable of indulging in rational, adult discussion. Thank you for your time.

  18. May 7, 2009 at 15:32

    James from Kenya

    What do you stand to gain from all the publicity BBC gives you for free. Dont you think you would be an accomplice to murder if you are encouraging people to end their lives? This is rogue counsellings and its detrimental to society natural way of death.

  19. 24 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    May 7, 2009 at 15:32

    It’s interesting that several comments posted above talk about Dr. Nitschke trying to play god. It seems to me they’ve gotten it backwards. It’s the believers who insist they know best and deny others their right to bodily integrity, on the basis of a god that the people who wish to die do not believe in.

    I knew a mentally ill young man who took his own life because he feared he would endanger others. He was deranged by his illness and I think his suicide was misguided, but I can’t quarrel for a minute about his right to end his life if he so chose. People suffering great physical or mental pain have the right to stop the pain, to end their lives, if they so choose and anyone who tries to deny them this right is interfering.

    One point others posting on the blog haven’t addressed is the cry “It’s a slippery slope!” which always comes up eventually in conversations of this subject. In places where doctor-assisted suicide is tolerated or legal, in the Netherlands and here in Switzerland, have proven this fear to be unfounded. People from other countries to come to Switzerland to suicide because their own countries forbid it, but the Swiss are not hauling Granny off to the death-with-dignity clinics because they want to quit of her. Those who die have chosen to do so, and their choice should be respected.

  20. 25 Anna in Melbourne
    May 7, 2009 at 15:36

    I want to ask Philip how he has been received in Europe, it must have been pretty awful being held at London airport for 9 hours hours like a common criminal – is there an understanding euthenasia network in the UK – and is surprised that the right for people to die with dignity is still such a hotly contested subject?

  21. 26 Anna in Melbourne
    May 7, 2009 at 15:41

    Has Philip had a good reception in the UK? I am hoping there is a more enlivened and diverse debate in Europe…

    It must have been awful to be held at the airport for 9 hours – is he surprised there is such fear and opposition to a dignified end?

    Does he have many people contacting him asking him for advice – would love to join the debate.

  22. 27 Anthony
    May 7, 2009 at 15:50

    @ Craig Eastman

    I would have happily ended my Grandpa’s life if it were legal and he wanted me to. I have thought about this, and I would now do it in a heartbeart (If he were still alive and I was faced with the same situation).

    Also, just because you don’t believe in God, doesn’t mean you can’t use that phrase. I’m sure you’ve used the term “Devil’s Advocate” before, or made other references to fictional things. If someone said “you better be good, or Santa will give you coal” would you say “The notion of Santa bringing coal is irrelevant to those of us who do not believe in one”, of course not, you’re just being silly about it.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

    • 28 Craig Eastman
      May 7, 2009 at 17:41

      Anthony. Thank you for your response, though you seem to have misunderstood. My referral to the phrase “playing god” was in response to a poster who used the phrase repeatedly in reference to the Doctor, quite without explaining in which way he was “playing god”. My use of the phrase thereafter was simply to enforce my point, not to imply that it cannot be used by those of us who do not believe in one. If you read my post again you will see I quite clearly refer to the “notion” of playing god and not the phrase itself. I would hardly call that “silly”. I hope this clears up any misunderstanding.

  23. 29 Tom K in Mpls
    May 7, 2009 at 15:51

    Knowledge is a tool. I see no more reason to excited over this than I would over a recipe for bread or the plans for a nuclear bomb. If you are worried about people being suicidal, be a part of their lives, don’t flap your lips to the masses.

  24. May 7, 2009 at 15:57

    Why the age of 50? Are they the only ones facing problems? He could be a serial killer- We’ve heard of killers who kills a specific age group or sex (males or females). Why shouldn’t he help them cope with their lives rather than inciting them to end their lives-is it what he was trainned for as a docter?

  25. 31 Janet Edmonds
    May 7, 2009 at 16:09

    Many suicides, esp. among young people, are a ‘cry for help’ – poeple who don’t actually want to die, but don’t see any way forward in their lives. Men are especially vunerable if they feel they aren’t doing what they should in life.

    It would be interesting to carry out a survey to see how many people have thought about killing themselves at some point in their life – quite a few; and now know it was only a low point, a daft idea, and thank whatever they didn’t do it.

    Giving such accurate information about how to carry out the deed would certainly not help most suicide attempts. That there is no second chance was never truer.

    Anyway, it doesn’t take too much imagination to work out how to kill yourself if you really want to. Is Dr Nitschke trying to gain attention for himself? (I don’t say, ‘god’ because I don’t mean something responsible for everything – I’m an athiest).

  26. 32 Craig Eastman
    May 7, 2009 at 16:13

    Donnamarie. Thank you for making the point I was about to attempt myself. Your post is a breath of fresh air in a debate that would otherwise be swamped by certain righteous individuals.

  27. 33 Kelly, from Chicago, IL, USA
    May 7, 2009 at 16:21

    How does the doctor feel about suicide based on mental and emotional suffering as opposed to physical suffering (as I would assume he aims to reduce by informing elderly people)?

  28. 34 Patti in Cape Coral
    May 7, 2009 at 16:23

    The only concern I have about this is depressed , mentally ill, or distraught people who may use this information to end their lives instead of seeking help. I hate to think of a young person in the midst of some teenaged angst ending their life; however, isn’t this type of information available on-line already?

  29. 35 Steve/Oregon
    May 7, 2009 at 16:24

    Phil I just want to say thank you it is about time people get education on how to kill themselves. Here in Oregon we have the right to die/death with dignigty law which allows people that are terminally ill can choose the way they pass. I know 2 people who had cancer and made a choice they were much happier knowing how and when instead of living in misery for another 5 years. I would say that we do not limit the age to 50 though. Anyone who wants to die and reduce the stress on the system should be allowed to end there life, after all it is there life. As for the trauma others feel because someone decided to end there life. I would have to say get over it.

  30. 36 Kim Johnson
    May 7, 2009 at 16:38

    I think this guy is crazy, destructive, radical and just evil. He is no different from the suicide bombers, the terrorists. He is the one who should be banned to enter our country. People who listen to him or go to his talks are as radical and crazy like him. You should not let someone like him to be on your show, give him the chance to spew his poison. You are participant in this radicalism. Anyone comes with wacky ideas and you let him on the show! I cannot believe this. He is a sick man.

  31. 37 Kim Johnson
    May 7, 2009 at 16:42

    Donnamarie in Switzerland, If you want to die, that is your problem, you go talk with your doctor or whatever, but we dont’ people like this evil doctor advertising his business. This is something private between you and anyone you trust.

      May 7, 2009 at 17:54

      I think he is a coward too else he would have ended his. We have no evidence how healthy he is to help those who are sick. Can someone ask him if he is free to reveal his medical history? This is one individual in a lot of agony over death. I wonder what happened to him when he turned fifty that tipped him over in this directon which he figures to be a new horizon in science. He is really agonizing about his death while the rest of us are thinking about where to get food and gas.

      THAT’S MY SAY!

  32. May 7, 2009 at 16:43

    @ Donnamarie in Switzerland: you put it very well.

    It’s all well and good for people in good health mentally and physically to say ‘I would never do it.’ If they haven’t become unable to function physically in basic ways like swallowing, for example, as with some nervous diseases, they cannot know they would not do it.

    There is a danger of depressed people taking this way out before exploring all the possibilities to lift their depression, but does that mean that everybody should be obliged to live, in whatever condition, to save those in danger of acting too soon for their own good?

    The fact that we are mortal is our greatest blessing. There is a limit on how long and how deeply we need to suffer in this world. If we choose to end our lives before they become insufferable, we need good advice on how to do it so that we don’t botch it. Failing in the attempt could leave one worse off than before.

    The danger of family members being jailed for assisting a suicide are real. Knowledge is power. Those who are adamant about others receiving advice and making their own decision, should mind their own business.

  33. 40 Kim Johnson
    May 7, 2009 at 16:44

    The other question, why over 50 years? How does he decide who are his audience? What a crazy person he is!

    • 41 Tom K in Mpls
      May 7, 2009 at 17:38

      Younger people are the ones that are most likely to commit suicide for nonsensical reasons. In the ’80s it was even fashionable for teens to commit suicide in the US. The press helped fuel it by publicizing it while believing they could help prevent it.

      A system involving a doctors approval and the agreement of one or more family members approving suicide is a great idea. I would have helped my father had he wanted it. But I never brought it up. Options are a good thing, helping friends and family is better.

  34. 42 Dinka Aliap Chawul-Kampala
    May 7, 2009 at 16:44

    Dear HYS`s Team.My simple questions for Dr Philip is; 1.How old are you? 2.How many people have you advice to commite suicides since you started this death project? 3.what kind of method do you engages people and how do they react on this matter to you? 4.Have you been given a license by Australian authorities to do this job and how many people have you employed?.5what do you want to achieves? and How do you feel when someone has died as a result of your teaching(success/failure)?.Thanks

  35. 43 Patti in Cape Coral
    May 7, 2009 at 17:00

    I’m a little surprised at how shocked and afraid people are of this man. As I said before, isn’t there extensive information on suicide on-line, or other sources? Personally, I can’t imagine needing this information, but I’m relatively young and healthy, so what do I know about how I will feel when I am old, sick, and suffering?

      May 7, 2009 at 18:09

      Life is sweet music and that is why we try to prop those who are low on energy. This music has gone on well over the ages. Some have ended their dancing without consulting any known DJ though this doctor now wants us to offer him this role. There is news here in Kenya of a youth who ended his life with a rope after the Manchester team lost. I do not know whether this is dignity or whether it was enough reason for terminating his football maniac illness. He was 28 and not 50. I do not know.

      This guy is phoney in some ways. He might be taking digs at us and he is not for free service.

  36. 45 rawpoliticsjamaicastyle
    May 7, 2009 at 17:01

    Hi WHYSers!
    I have been following this story with a great deal of interest, since hearing it about two days ago in one of the bulletins. I was especially struck by the apparent contradiction of Dr. Nitchke’s claim about his ‘love of life’ with his teaching people die. Hence, my question is:

    – how does he reconcile his professed ‘love of life’ with an apparently very developed plan for death? And could his actions be considered a love of death?

    He also seems fairly certain about what happens after death, despite his critique of a Christian ‘Judgement Day’. According to him, as a Humanist he believes that after death he will go into ‘a deep, dreamless sleep’ from which he ‘will not wake’. So, the question is:

    – How can he be so sure about what happens after death, especially considering that he juxtaposed that contention with a rejection of a Christian Judgement Day? And, is this what accounts for his seeming faith in death?

    • 46 Tom K in Mpls
      May 7, 2009 at 17:44

      rawpoliticsjamaicastyle: This is easy, the answer to the first is understanding the term ‘quality of life’. As for the second, if there was any proof who was right there would be no question. Since there is no proof, there is no answer. You should respect other peoples opinion/faith.

  37. 47 Luz Ma from Mexico
    May 7, 2009 at 17:02

    Why 50 years old? What do you take into account to set that age as a requirement to have this acknowledge?
    Do you think that modern medicine makes people live longer than they should?

    And what about people suffering from depression or other mental problems? Could they reach an objective decision about something so important?

  38. 48 deryck/trinidad
    May 7, 2009 at 17:31

    I believe that an adult with all their mental faculties functioning and with sound scientific information should be allowed to end THEIR life even though I might not agree with it. The reason being, that I have never walked in that person’s shoe even though I might try to sympathise or empathise with them and their situation it is very hard to know how a person feels or the pain they are going through.

  39. 49 Assiya
    May 7, 2009 at 17:35

    I think he should first try his own mechanisms so that we can be certain they are effective.

    May 7, 2009 at 17:43

    Dr. Youre probably a visionary. But, we also know that visionaries unlike you lead by example. Christ did not ask other people to be crucified before he was and neither did he expect all of us to be Christians. It is not my custom to ask people to do what I am about to ask you but, I think based on your convictions, you could lead us by example by offering yourself first. Could you do that even if it will be in your own country where it is acceptable? Of course we will be the judge and we shall have the final say as to whether this is that or the other; whatever the findings. Do not forget that we have witnessed suicide many times over. Do not forget we go to war and we know the consequences. For that reason in your own dignified death, I hope you will not feel betrayed should we not opt to follow your sweet-death idea.

  41. 51 Andrew in Australia
    May 7, 2009 at 17:55

    Dr Nitschke and his information will not result in more deaths as those who were going to end their lives will do so whether he is around or not.

    What I don’t understand is why people are so threatened by his outlook on life. After all your life is your own and if you decide to end it, then so be it, that is a choice for you to make and not for someone who does not know you, has no idea of what you are going through, and in the case of the terminally ill, no idea what pain you are suffering. If his ideas provide a more dignified death and a less painful one then he is a welcome change to the conservative do gooders who have nothing better to do than interfere in other’s private lives.

    Had I a close friend or relative who wished to end their life to end their suffering, I would not be glad about it, but I would resepct their choice to do so. Don’t be so quick to condemn Philip Nitschke and get ver yourselves. Why do you feel that someone you never met who is in pain is your responsibility and your mission in life to prolong their agony. So many people wil choose their death and will end up doing a hash of it rather than a decent death, for those people we need the Philip Nitschkes of the world.

  42. 52 Andrew in Australia
    May 7, 2009 at 17:59

    PS Dr Nitschke is not about killing people, but the media of course will sensationalise his mission. It is about ending your life when you choose in a simple and dignified manner. Dare I say, a good death and one where you do not put the burden on others or the result of your actions on others as many forms of suicide do.

  43. May 7, 2009 at 18:06

    Obviously he has a creative mind but he is using his creativity and intelligence in the wrong way. People should be helped to live full lives not to find ways to shorten their already short lives.

  44. 54 steve
    May 7, 2009 at 18:09

    If death is such a great and liberating experience, why do we bury the dead given they can’t bury themselves? Maybe people should see the end result of what death is if you think people should have the choice to end it when they want to. Watch people decompose and tell me about this being a choice everyone should have.

  45. 55 steve
    May 7, 2009 at 18:14

    @ Andrew, if his information won’t result in more deaths, as they would have killed themselves anyways, why do they need to hear his advice on how to kill themselves if they’re going to do it anyways before???

    And why is this guy allowed into the UK, which will result in the deaths of people, but Michael Savage or Fred Phelps are not, and they won’t result in the deaths of anyone?

  46. 56 steve
    May 7, 2009 at 18:18

    Nitchke is insane if he thinks it was a “rational decision” to randomly decide to die at age 80. That’s about as rational as someone killing themselves for having brown eyes and red hair. He clearly doesn’t know what the word rational means. And this guy was allowed into the UK?

  47. 57 Orsi from Hungary
    May 7, 2009 at 18:18

    I think we should try to make the lives of people better instead of encourage them to end it.. I understand that you can be in a situation when you want to die but your environment should help you instead of abandon you and let you die..

  48. 58 Orsi from Hungary
    May 7, 2009 at 18:19

    I agree with Margaret who is talking right now! We all have the right to die but we also have the right as well to live and to live it better, to make our live better!!!

  49. 59 John in Salem
    May 7, 2009 at 18:19

    I have no “god” to dictate my values – for me there is no inherent “sanctity” of life, just my personal belief that we only get one shot at existence and when it’s over it’s over. I believe we have to say yes to all of life, the entire heaven and hell of it, if we want to truly live.
    But no one is qualified to pass judgement on the level of pain that someone else can endure and our individual standards apply only to ourselves. I may feel that Kurt Cobain’s suicide was a stupid act – he was young and had an entire lifetime ahead of him to work out his emotional problems and throwing it away meant throwing away any possibility of joy in an unknowable future – but I don’t and can’t assume that what holds true for me is true for others. Had I been in his shoes I may have made the same choice (he was, after all, married to Courtney Love…).
    I agree with Dr. Nitschke’s target age of 50 as better for making a “rational” decision. Younger people, in general, have an unrealistic grasp of time and are more likely to consider suicide as a solution that will somehow make them “feel better”.
    To Arnaud Ntirenganya I would say this – you are more than your past and more than your pain. Your experience gives you the capacity to know and share joy on levels that the rest of us cannot imagine. Consider the infinite possibilities of the future before allowing your history to shut the door.

  50. 60 Tara
    May 7, 2009 at 18:20

    I support assisted suicide under logical, rational situations.

    We bring new people into being every day, without ever considering if that person will WANT this life that we are giving them, the least we can do is give them the CHOICE to die, if they so choose, and are of rational mind. I see no reason to stock pile our planet with people just waiting around to die. If they are ready, it is their life, and should be their choice.

  51. 61 Tom D Ford
    May 7, 2009 at 18:20

    I think it is a good idea, it gives people back power over their lives, and that is what is offensive, a slap in the face, to Cheap-Labor Conservatives.

    Here in Oregon, people get that power and they don’t abuse it, just having the choice, the power over their end of life, helps them to live!

  52. 62 Melissa
    May 7, 2009 at 18:21

    If Margaret believes in the Right to Life then she should be open to the Right to Die. Either way it is an individuals right to choose. I’m tired of fundamentalists deciding everyone’s fate. I will decide my own thank you very much!

  53. 63 Kurt From Oregon
    May 7, 2009 at 18:22

    Why does the woman who opposes Dr. Nitschke have the hubris to think she knows what best for people she doesn’t even know.

  54. 64 Scott - FL, USA
    May 7, 2009 at 18:22

    It is a contradiction to support and provide the means to end another person’s life in the case of abortion while denying someone the same support and means to end their own life.

    I do not see a moral imperative to continue living outside of a religious worldview.

  55. 65 Melissa
    May 7, 2009 at 18:24

    Someone sharing information is not the same thing as someone receiving information and then choosing their fate! Knowledge is power isn’t it? You can’t blame a man for putting out the information for euthanasia when it is the individual who chooses what to do with that information.

  56. May 7, 2009 at 18:24


    The act of self termination is, in my opinion, the one absolute existential right which we have as humans. We cannot control when, how or whether we are born. Nor can we control, at a basic level, our health; after all if we could, no one would become ill. Therefore the act of self termination, suicide, self killing (however one wishes to frame it) is the one act over which we might have complete personal control. The good doctors argument that we should have access to safe and responsible information over the methodology of acting upon this existential right is as fundamentally correct as the right to information about the dangers of smoking, skydiving or driving. Without such information we are condeming those who choose this act to experimentation, mistakes, non-fatal damage and the effects of inflicting a badly planned suicide on those around them.

    For many reasons I have thought long and hard about this issue but this is as concise as I can possibly make my personal conclusions.


    Phill Evans
    North Shropshire

  57. 67 Tom D Ford
    May 7, 2009 at 18:24

    I knew a medical Doctor who set aside drugs to help him die and when he was very old and had enough he took those drugs and ended it. He had talked it out with his kids and they were all right with it. It was a very rational and very well thought out decision.

  58. 68 Evan (Oregon, USA)
    May 7, 2009 at 18:24

    I don’t want to be a burden on my family or the taxpayers.

    If I am in pain, immobile, on permanent life support, or otherwise incapacitated in a way that I cannot actively and reasonably control my destiny, I don’t want to live. If my wife accepts my decision, why should somebody who doesn’t even know me deny me that decision?

    Our society keeps many people alive who would otherwise not survive due to illness, injury, disease, age, or just plain old natural selection. Why can’t we allow them to make a rational decision to end their life? Think of all the resources we could divert toward people who WANT to live?

  59. 69 Phillip
    May 7, 2009 at 18:25

    I believe every person has the right to determine their own life path. Those that want to prohibit a death-choice of another, are selfish. Tend to your own lives.

  60. 70 Patti in Cape Coral, FL
    May 7, 2009 at 18:26

    I only wish there were options in the opposite direction for those of us who are having a wonderful time and don’t want to go when our time is up.

  61. 71 Andee in Noblesville Indiana
    May 7, 2009 at 18:27

    The wording of this question encourages hyperbole…it does not matter whether or not I agree or disagree with the doctor. This doctor provides information that could be the catalyst of a very personal decision, and no other person has the right to coerce a terminally ill patient to continue beyond what their personal belief system dictates. People that have religious convictions that prevent them from entertaining it as an option are under no obligation to participate, but they have no right to obstruct another from doing so if the end of their life is nearing and they wish to have some control over how that transpires. Terminal illness can rob a patient of so much, I totally understand the desire to take that control back and to make preparations and if they MUST go, to go out on their own terms. Well done Doctor, please continue to pass on this information to the patients that need and desire it.

  62. 72 Britt
    May 7, 2009 at 18:27

    My grandmother was very sad and lonely during the last few years of her life in Florida (she called it “heaven’s waiting room”) in the US. We talked about going to the Netherlands together so she could end her life and not be afraid. Adding to her fear and pain was a couple she knew. The wife had a severely painful life-ending condition and her husband was too weak to continue caring for her. They agreed to a double suicide since neither of them could imagine living without the other. After shooting his wife with a gun, the husband was so traumatized, he could not follow through, and was subsequently arrested and charged with murder. My grandmother was kept alive on life-support after a heart attack even though she had a do not resucitate order in her will, a document the local authorities didn’t need to consult legally.

    I feel committed to the fact that options allow us to consider our own situations individually and the we have a right to information and education in lieu of fear and desperation that can end in tragedy. This is also the best way to write policy that allows for our humanity.

    Thank you.

  63. 73 steve
    May 7, 2009 at 18:27

    Freedom of information? So should nations allow in people in to give tips on pedophelia given it’s only information?

    This man tells perfectly healthy people how to kill themselves.

  64. 74 CJ McAuley
    May 7, 2009 at 18:29

    As my Mother has been diagnosed as having Alzheimer’s Disease(AD), I am thinking a lot about quality of life lately. I just don’t see how this “solution” can apply once one no longer possesses all one’s faculties?

  65. 75 Tara
    May 7, 2009 at 18:30

    The Doctor just made a really good point – Elderly people who are ready to die, are going to commit suicide anyways, I think it is good to help comfort them, and support them if they decide to take their own lives, and make it more comfortable for them.

  66. 76 Raimie
    May 7, 2009 at 18:31

    Who are we to dictate to others how to live, and is dying not part of life?

    The problem here, as with many of today’s issues, is that people believe their way is best, and they try to impose it on the world around them. I say that if a person’s actions are consensual and do not directly harm another, then it’s their own business.

    Bend, Oregon

  67. 77 steve
    May 7, 2009 at 18:32

    If someone really wanted to die, why would they need to seek out a “pleasant” way to die vs. hanging as the doctor described? It’s the end result you want, so it doesn’t matter how you get there, right? If you truly wanted to die, you wouldn’t worry about whether it’s painless or messy.

  68. 78 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    May 7, 2009 at 18:32

    What does Dr. Nitschke have to say about right-to-lifers who speak about the so-called “slippery slope”?

    We have doctor assisted suicide here in Switzerland, and there is no evidence at all to suggest that “forced euthanasia” is taking place among the elderly, severely handicapped or terminally ill.

  69. 79 Colin from Dorset
    May 7, 2009 at 18:33

    This man shouldn’t have been allowed into the country. Suicide is not illegal, but it isn’t ‘legal’ in the sense that people are free to do it. Anyone seeing somebody trying to kill themselves is allowed – and rightly so – to try to restrain them. We should have the same respect for elderly or ill people who find life difficult. Those who want to die deserve encouragement and support, not a negative message that they can be helped to die.

  70. 80 E. Kingston
    May 7, 2009 at 18:33

    My mother has Pick’s Disease. I have watched her lose her executive brain function over the past few years, with hallucinations, paranoid delusions and other unpleasant changes. She no longer recognizes family members, cannot speak, and will like die from choking on food or her own saliva. Should this prove to be an inherited condition, I would prefer the choice to spare my only child the misery and cost of caring for my detached physical shell.

  71. 81 Leslie
    May 7, 2009 at 18:34

    If someone is terminally ill, waiting around to die a slow, painful death and either experiencing a horrid quality of life or doped up on drugs all the time, shouldn’t that person be given the chance to say “I’m done, I want to go out my way”? Should this choice really be taken away from them because others object on religious grounds? All these people that say life is always worth living and people should be kept alive at all costs don’t seem to grasp what it would be like to live out your final days/months/years in constant pain and suffering. These people are rational adults who should be allowed to make their own choices.

  72. 82 Tom D Ford
    May 7, 2009 at 18:36

    Here in the US we have a massive Republican Conservative Christian Fundamentalist suicide death cult called “The Rapture”.

    They pray for the end of all life on the world in the hope that they will somehow magically be raised up and transported to some supernatural place that they call Heaven. They want to hurry up and end their lives on Earth, betting that somewhere else is better.

    I think that is crazy and devalues life, but here is an appropriate quote:

    “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into.” — Jonathan Swift

  73. 83 Orsi from Hungary
    May 7, 2009 at 18:37

    Yes thank’s but coming back to the lady who said that she would’ve missed the best years of her life – how can you take the responsibility to respect a decision of which you can not foresee the consequence?
    I mean you can’t know what will happen if the person does not die, maybe he / she will get better so the decision is not based on rational reasons.
    I hope I made myself clear.. 🙂

  74. 84 susanne williams
    May 7, 2009 at 18:43

    this is not about whether or not to die. It is about method and dignity. Is it not a much better thing for the family not find their loved one hanging from the rafters.

  75. 85 Chymer Evans
    May 7, 2009 at 18:43

    Philip Nitschke,
    Refering yourself as doctor,is the last thing you should have done. Doctors cure,not Kill!

    Chymer Evans,
    Kebbi State,

  76. 86 Jon (London)
    May 7, 2009 at 18:43

    There’s growing evidence that individuals are not rational and are poor at forecasting how their decisions will affect their wellbeing. How does this affect Philip’s views?

  77. 87 Stuart
    May 7, 2009 at 18:45

    Dr Nitschke,

    The discussion so far has been around allowing people to die with dignity by ending their own life. Do you have any comments regarding the people who have no control at all? Any able bodied person can take their life by one means or another. What about people who are entirely lucid but, through incapacity, cannot physically take their own life? What should we do for them?


    Brisbane, Australia

    • 88 Tom K in Mpls
      May 7, 2009 at 19:41

      You should watch the full length ( about 10 min )musical video ” One ” by Metallica. Nobody asked the question better than them. IMO there is no good answer to this one. There is no perfection in life, laws or systems. This is a valid, painful problem to address in any ‘suicide law’. Good luck. 😐

  78. 89 Tom D Ford
    May 7, 2009 at 18:46

    I am a hunter, and what I have noticed is that every living being fights extremely hard to live.

    And I think that when that will to live goes out that humans ought to be able to end their life by a means of their own choosing, whether that is just dying naturally or with a well informed decision to take drugs or whatever.

    Because humans do end their lives anyway and often in ways that hurt their friends and loved ones because it is socially forbidden to talk it out.

  79. 90 Emese Mate
    May 7, 2009 at 18:46

    Life is a great value, no matter what the situation. I am sure that many have thought of suicide in desperate situations, when one feels that the ground has slipt beneath his/her feet, or when one has had enough of a painful disease.

    I am convinced that life continues after death and death is just a transition. Life is a gift and we donot have the right to decide the end of our life. It shall happen when it is written.

    It is interesting, because I have heard on the news today that an 18 years old young girl in Hungary has just died 2 hours before her graduation ceremony. I bet she didnot dream of this in her worse dreams.

    There are opinions and opinions, but mine is that no matter the conflicts, the problems of daily life, solidarity, attention, patience, acceptance and mainly HUMBLENESS is the answer.

    Suicide is the easier and most comfortable choice – maybe except when sone is really suffering as intensly as a human being can . Instead of this one should face the problems, pain, anything with courage, because everything has a solution. It is a hard daily work, but it is worth.

    Being kind to our fellows next to us, being open hearted and honest, just listening the problems or a good advice, even a smile can change one’s life.

    Emese form Miercurea Ciuc, Transylvania, Romania

    May 7, 2009 at 18:47

    And now to his supporters. I believe strongly that We are not only given life freely but freely we have been given power to creat new individuals to life. This gift is freely given to the enlightened and the primitive whatever that means. Let us not conclude that all the developments we have created in life support systems is futile.
    Death is nothing new to us. The only pain in death is only in thinking about it and not in dying. Let not this wags tell us about it unless they have visited the land of the dead and found out how people there arrive in dignity and others in indignity.
    Death is death and there is no reason for you or your family to be conned over it. There is no blackmacket death or voluntary death. Suicide statistics are not explit whether it is the terminally ill who opt to be helped and let no one goad us in this warped direction.
    I do not know but I think suicide or assisted suicide is a lazy choice by those who pass judgement on themseves and here we may question the credibility of such self legistlations. Secondly its like setting your own exam and marking it yourself and concluding that you are a failure. It is not credible though the likes of this guy tells such people that they shall assist them with what surely a flawed premise of evaluating ourselves. Thankfully the world has alwasy had enough moral judgement to counter such tendencies.

    We need to understand pain too which is a mystery to us; not play escapists. Even if you are assisted in dying does it matter in the end?

  81. 92 Vera
    May 7, 2009 at 18:47

    Dr Nitschke,

    I fully support your work. I have just lost a close relative, who was suffering from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, and who – thanks to palliative medicine – has been able to die a dignified and less terrifying death as she would have had to face otherwise (and of which she was always incredibly afraid, more than death as such).

    To make the debate less general, could you please elaborate more on the differences in the case of people that are either

    1) elderly,
    2) terminally ill,
    3) or depressed,

    as obviously these situations have to be distinguished.

    Many thanks,


  82. 93 Phillip
    May 7, 2009 at 18:47

    Hassan, keep YOUR morals off me!

  83. 94 Craig
    May 7, 2009 at 18:50

    I have a friend who was recently dying of cancer. He ended up using a firearm, which was needless to say quite messy. If a person wishes to terminate, they should have the facility to do this in the least horrific manner possible.

  84. 95 Jonathan (partly cloudy San Francisco)
    May 7, 2009 at 18:50

    I salute Dr. Nitschke for his compassion, concern, and courage.

    People who hold absolutist notions about “life at all costs” have usually not watched a loved one endure a prolonged, painful, grotesque, death. Every day, doctors and patients and families quietly negotiate a merciful course to the end. We should not make criminals of them. If we don’t have the right to our own lives, we have no rights at all.

    San Francisco

    • 96 Orsi from Hungary
      May 7, 2009 at 19:02

      I have seen my grandma suffering for a couple of months. It was very painful to watch but the happiness and gratefulness that I saw in her eyes every time I visited her was worth all the suffering. Should she have died just because I can’t bear to see her suffer? She hung on to life and my duty was to be with her and make her happy before she dies.

  85. 97 Tori
    May 7, 2009 at 18:50

    This is a godsend for the insurance industry. I have no doubt the doctor’s heart is in the right place but I can a future where insurance companies will begin offering death with dignity kits as an alternative to paying for a patient’s healthcare.

  86. 98 steve
    May 7, 2009 at 18:50

    SO it’s irresponsible to die naturally like people have done for tens of thousands of years?

  87. 99 Patti in Cape Coral, FL
    May 7, 2009 at 18:51

    I just heard the doctor say that discussion of this subject is not prevalent in poorer countries because heroic measures are not commonly used to extend people’s lives. As I understand it, that means if people legally decided to not have any heroic measures to extend their lives, it would make the need for suicide less likely, because people would not live long enough to go through suffering.

  88. 100 Evan (Oregon, USA)
    May 7, 2009 at 18:51

    Another thought-
    We shoot a horse if it breaks its leg, in order to put it out of its misery.
    We don’t question the action.
    We consider that the good and moral thing to do.
    Is it therefore moral to make it illegal for people put themselves out of their own misery?
    Or should we make them suffer like a horse with a broken leg, often times at great emotional and financial cost to their family and society?

  89. 101 Emese Mate
    May 7, 2009 at 18:55

    Jason says that our life is ours. Is really our life ours or does our life serve an upper , divine purpose, that is beyond our imagination and conception. Just get up early in the morning, watch the sun rising and you will feel in your soul that you are loved, even when you feel that you are alone. No matter how bad the situation, when one truly beleives that there is a solution it will come true.
    Paying attention to each other, living in a true community is what has to be strengthened, so that in limit situations the community can overtake and help those in need.

    Again Emese : ) So be optimistic, think it over and over again, and TALK…honestly. It always helps, because we often are immature and we seldom donot understand even ourselves (own experience)

  90. 102 julie Anderson
    May 7, 2009 at 18:55

    Agree 90 yr olds should be able to commit suicide together. Quality of life cannot be decided by the state by religion or medicine. It is a civil right

  91. 103 susanne williams
    May 7, 2009 at 18:56

    this is as well as the counselling about its to improve the person’s outlook towards staying alive. Not instead of, as well as.

  92. 104 Jonathan (partly cloudy San Francisco)
    May 7, 2009 at 18:57

    Ros, unless you know something nobody else does, “not dying” is not one of our options.

  93. 105 Joe
    May 7, 2009 at 18:59

    In the US to take drugs from one hand is to put a gun in the other. If people want to die they will. Let people do it in a way that produces the least suffering for the subject and the family.

  94. 106 steve
    May 7, 2009 at 19:03

    @ Julie

    “Agree 90 yr olds should be able to commit suicide together. Quality of life cannot be decided by the state by religion or medicine. It is a civil right”

    But is that a rational decision to decide to die together at 90 because both are healthy and don’t want to wait around to get sick and die???

    Why not age 60? Why not 40? Heck, why not 25? There’s nothing rational about that decision to die simply because they are both 90 and want to die at the same time.

  95. 107 Jan Haverkamp
    May 7, 2009 at 19:04

    I want to give a compliment for the moderation of this hour. It was one of the most dignified discussions on World have your Say to date. A difficult subject, but Roy Atkins *and* Philip Nitschke both showed compassion, dignity and fairness. Also the responses were well weighed, not hysterical. Congratulations – gave me a lot of food for thought.

    May 7, 2009 at 19:11

    Dr. Medicine is out to protect life. What name do you give to this new profession?

  97. 109 Jeff
    May 7, 2009 at 19:22

    I absolutely agree that individuals being rational should have this choice. In my mind opposition to this is as small minded as refusing pain meds of any type to be used to improve quality of life.
    Naples FL

  98. 110 Sheri
    May 7, 2009 at 19:25

    I love what the doctor is doing! For all the people who are calling and are upset, they don’t have to do this, so, why are they worried???? It is not a LAW; it is totally an individual option.
    Sheri, Cleveland Ohio

  99. 111 Linda
    May 7, 2009 at 19:26

    If the Right-to-Lifers care that I have a “right” to life, why do they not care that I also have a “right” to die? Is it because THEY want to determine my rights rather than me? Dr. Nitschke is absolutely right. Death with dignity is just that. Thank you, Dr. Nitschke. Perhaps in the future people will keep their noses out of the business of others.

    Seattle, Washington, USA

  100. 112 Karen
    May 7, 2009 at 19:27

    I live in the state of Oregon, USA. We have “death with dignity law” that allows people with life ending diseases to obtain perscriptions for lethal drugs..on the advice of 2 md’s. Of course this laves out people like me who are just in agony (not medicatable) and cna’t do anything about it. Three cheers for what you are doing!

  101. 113 Lisa
    May 7, 2009 at 19:28

    AT 52 I’ve long supported end of life as a personal decision. There have been several points made I’d address:
    1. information is, ultimately, a matter of freedom of speech.
    2. Margaret’s point re caring for the elderly. This is a non-issue in re to this discussion. However, living in primarily elderly communities my entire life I’ve long witnessed the isolation of the elderly by their family, dearest friends, neighbors. IN most cases, becoming ill or suffering a stroke, makes one a pariah.
    3. Whether or not I’d use the information, I would want access to the information. For the last few decades I’ve relied on other information, that being oleander, as an effective means if one makes the decision. Furthermore, living among elderly I’ve repeatedly been asked for such information. To my knowledge, not anyone has ever made use of it. HOwever, I think that people gain some level of peace in knowing that there is an option even though they don’t exercise that option.

  102. 114 Vyvyan
    May 7, 2009 at 19:29

    I was on the program but didnt mention that it is So unfair on the train driver to throw oneself under a train Vyvyan.

  103. 115 Felicity
    May 7, 2009 at 19:30

    Putting aside the moral issue of taking ones life, the issue becomes not one of respecting individuals rights but if it becomes socially acceptable there is the risk that it becomes socially “required” that is to say that one becomes selfish for living a long life, especially in countries where that long life is paid for partly by the government.

    Washington DC

  104. 116 Jeremy
    May 7, 2009 at 19:31

    Recently lived through the death of my Father.

    My Mother kept asking “Why am I allowed to put my favorite and dearly beloved cat to sleep to end his suffering, but cannot do the same for my beloved husband?”


  105. 117 Steve
    May 7, 2009 at 19:32

    The doctor said that he wouldn’t tihnk it’s necessary to encourage someone who is suffering aggregeously to not kill themselves. He just admitted earlier that he helped an 80 year old to kill herself who just randomly decided to die at that age, because that’s the age she felt people should die. Meaning she was otherwise healthy. He described this decision as “rational”.


  106. 118 Peter CA
    May 7, 2009 at 19:34

    I agree with Dr. Nitschke for the following reasons:

    1.) It is a shame that elderly people are treated like third class citizens in most countries.
    After spending a lifetime working for the state (paying taxes) unless you are financially well off elderly people are not looked after with dignity by the state. In America one is reduced to poverty thus humiliated before a very basic menial service kicks in. So depressing being kept alive by the law when you basic human right is denied.

    2.) If one is in uncontrollable severe pain. Who has the right to imagine how much pain one is in and then tell a person ‘sorry you just have to live with it’ That shows such a lack of compassion.

  107. 119 Arablak
    May 7, 2009 at 19:34

    I believe as human beings, our freedom is extremely critical for one to to live a fulfilling life. Whatever decisions we make for ourselves is in fact suitable for ourselves alone, and at the end of the day is not up for debate. As for the Christians arguing against this practice, I feel they should research more into the concept of free will.

  108. 120 Marilyn, Oregon
    May 7, 2009 at 19:35

    I could not disagree more with the woman who used the phrase “a life worth living”. The decision and choice of whether to end one’s life when faced with terminal or extreme chronic illnesses is just that, a choice and it’s absolutely none of anyone else’s business. The Right to Life movement needs to mind their own business! The decision to end ones live is personal and not being foist onto others.

    If and when I make the decision, I hope there is someone like Dr. Nitschke to help me. We have the Right to Die in our state…. but it rains a lot, so don’t move here.

  109. 121 Kathy
    May 7, 2009 at 19:35

    Oregon has the right to die laws and more people inquire about then use this tool.
    We feel death is a part of life.

    Kathie Fullmer

  110. 122 Sheri, Ohio
    May 7, 2009 at 19:35

    It is amazing how an 85 year old person goes to the hospital with a broken hip, gets pneumonia and the doctors do everything in the world to save them. Why? Are they going to come out of the hospital and play golf??

    It is just like people that are selfish when it comes to pets; they will keep them alive even if they are terminal and in pain. They are thinking only about themselves..

    Everyone has the right to do what they want with their body and life and it is not anyone else’s business.

  111. 123 agaidagan
    May 7, 2009 at 19:52

    Looking through a number of the comments above I have come to the conclusion that a lot of the contributors have a fear of death. We all die at some point and I believe a fear of living a live of pain and no personal control over it is by far the worst option. Death is an integral part of living and it should hold no fear although it is less understandable the younger you are, maybe that is why Philip Nitschke mentioned the age of fifty which is at least half way through a normal lifespan. I know when I turned fifty my sense of life coming to its conclusion became more up front in my thoughts as opposed to being in the far recesses of the mind when your a young man. So, people, try not to let someone like this fellow get to you, he’ll only appeal to people who are looking for someone like this. He won’t corrupt people who aren’t interested in what he has to say.

  112. 124 Uzondu Esionye
    May 7, 2009 at 20:04

    I would like to know if Philip is coming to Africa as well. I think he will be highly welcomed here. I personally do not think that the idea is going to hold. I do not want to learn to take away my life or the life of anyone. will he not feel guilty for teaching people how to end their life sometime in the future?

  113. 125 Bert
    May 7, 2009 at 21:01

    As long as the decision is made BY the individual, whether or not to go on living, I can accept the arguments for that individual to end his life.

    And then comes the perfect example of the “slippery slope,” as demonstrated by Sheri from Ohio. The hospital is certainly required to do whatever is humanly possible to save the life of an 85 year old who is admitted with a broken bone. You’re not talking about someone in a vegetative state here.

    One can be quite healthy and aware at 85. It’s unconscionable to me that anyone, or a hospital’s administration, would arbitrarily declare an 85 year old with a broken hip to be a basket case.

    Matter of fact, I happen to know veteriarians who become incensed at pet owners who summarily ask to have their pets euthanized, when the pet’s condition is treatable.

  114. 126 Eric
    May 7, 2009 at 22:06

    When did we become such a burden to this twisted rotten state.
    When did we become slaves of billionaires.
    I believed we were a free people.
    I was wrong..
    This is a Prison…No way Out.

  115. 127 Luci Smith
    May 7, 2009 at 22:13

    Having lived through 3 major depressions and never once considered comitting suicide, even though life was a daily pain each time, I can only say that you have to get help from a good therapist if you can. I really do not think that suicide is the answer although I have not figured out what the question is yet.
    To quote a poem by a minor American poet who I cannot remember the name of:
    Isn’t life funny,
    Isn’t life gay?
    Isn’t life the perfect thing
    to pass the time away?

    Ya’ll go out and look at the stars.

  116. 128 G. LATO
    May 8, 2009 at 06:05

    So Phil_ how and when do you plan to end your life?

  117. May 8, 2009 at 11:45

    BBC I am really dissappointed that you spared your precious air time on this useless topic. Has the so called doctor thought of the effect of people using the lessons they have learnt from him on others? Who on earth planned his/her birth? So why do we think we can decide when we want to leave?

    That so called doctor may be more than 50 years, why hasn’t he ended his life? Whether we believe it or not, we do not have the right to end our lives because we will surely answer for it one day. That doctor needs a psychaitric attention. GOD HAVE MERCY ON US.

  118. 130 Kakule kiza celestin
    May 8, 2009 at 15:19

    First for most, it ‘s not and cannot universally be admitted that every one at age of 50 should have completed all his life plan, for many africans living in misery and poverty people who still dream for their best at this age, there are some who had even never led a good living conditions and who are targeting some better goal at this age. It’s criminal supporting ideas like showing people how to end their lives since every thing rely on God, the mosthigh who regulates and decide upon all the human species.

  119. 131 A.R.Shams, Pakistan
    May 8, 2009 at 16:25

    Terminating one’s life oneself or getting it terminated sounds and seems not just killing rather a sort of cruel murder that is plainly termed as suicide in legal and moral point of view.

    Humans on earth should condemn the idea of suicide giving it a name ‘dignity death’.

    I would rather call such a killing as a ‘dishonor death’ to depart from this beautiful world leaving such crime encouragement for the others who keep pessimistic attitude towards living and letting live.

  120. 132 agaidagan
    May 8, 2009 at 17:44

    Is anyone out there saying that anyone who dies whether 1 yearold or 100 yearold have not lived a full life? who’s to say how long a life should be. My criteria for a full life would be one of comfort within the bosom of your friends and family and if you have a life that takes you to the point of having children of your own and bringing them to fruition themselves then that ought to be life enough, anymore time to enjoy grandchildren is a real modern day bonus but don’t belittle other peoples lives because they passed away before that point. The main thing is to enjoy your life as best you can without affecting others and what is the point of suffering pain if you have a terminal condition when you can slip away quietly and let the next generation take over.

  121. 133 Lynn
    May 8, 2009 at 20:12

    Philip Nitschke is willing to teach anyone who wants to know how to commit suicide (or murder, because this knowledge could be used to end someone else’s life as well) but is he also willing to provide for through and balanced counseling to each of his followers?

    Taking one’s own life may be appropriate in some circumstances, I’m not certain because I’ve never been in this situation. But, being human, I deeply feel that anyone who considers their life to be better ended, should get accredited counseling before making a final decision and following through.

    Whether a believer in a God, a nonbeliever, or not sure, every human has the right, and even an obligation, to be in control of their own life. But, if one is in physical or mental pain there is likely also a distortion of what their future holds for them. I do believe that we have a right to choose to end our own life, but only after all aspects of one’s reality have been completely explored and considered with the help of counseling with the appropriate Clergy and/or Medical and Psychiatric doctor.

  122. 134 A.R.Shams, Pakistan
    May 9, 2009 at 11:28

    Suicide of any nature can create multiples of crimes in the society, especially on legal heirship or successionship besides other complications, so any sort of suicide should be avoided

  123. 135 Luci Smith
    May 9, 2009 at 16:53

    Two points I would like to make at the tail end of this discussion:
    I may have misquoted the poem, but the poet is Mason Williams.
    The Danish Queen is famous for saying,”You should never say never” (my translation), meaning, one should not ever be too categorical about things.
    Ending one’s life is someting one should leave up to nature, I think. Even if you are a person who needs the help of others to survive on a daily basis, isn’t that what civilization is all about? And how do you know that you cannot make a difference in other people’s lives? A lot of older people may have lots of aches and pains, but they also have lot of wisdom and ought to be respected for that and all that they have to give the next generations.
    It is an adolescent way of thinking that anybody is worthless because they are over 30 or 50 or whatever. All ages and types of human beings have something to contribute to this earth we live on. So live on – whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!

  124. 136 Andy
    May 9, 2009 at 16:58

    Denying someone the right to take their own life is to say that someone else has a higher claim to that persons life. In that case you effectively have slavery. Or if you want to bring in the pathetic GOD owns your life argument then present substantial evidence of this rather than just trying to use it to give your own ideals more weight.

  125. 137 Delphic Oracle of Oz
    May 10, 2009 at 00:11

    THANK GOD FOR PHILIP – he has put the kind back into humankind – instead of dying in agony, people have the choice to end their own lives with dignity. If you want to be a martyr, that’s your choice. And if you want your loved ones to suffer, then be a torturer – can you live with that? I don’t think Jesus would agree with torture, do you?

  126. 138 Kindle
    May 11, 2009 at 13:53

    Dr. Philip or whatever he calls himself is very dangerous to human existence. Why in this world must he advise this deadly vice: SUICIDE? 50 yrs is just too short for anybody to die and i don’t know if everybody is at the same level of information that anyone who dies before the age of 70yrs roams around and does not have a peaceful rest, their spirits roam about, if i am not mistaking.
    I hope he would be even to give points to defend himself else he has an unfinished business with the law.

  127. May 13, 2009 at 06:24

    Dr.Philip looks to be at least fifty or over. It is none of my business to tell him, if he is over fifty, “Physician heal thyself’. But I honestly feel nobody on this earth who is born a human being should go about advising others when to die or continue living. It makes nonsense of all the human endeavour.

  128. 140 JOAN GHALI
    May 14, 2009 at 16:44

    Reply to Mr Eastman …..Actually Mr. Eastman you are assuming wrong…..I do believe in and respect all religions on earth and I do believe in one GOD for all of us.

    LIVE AND LET LIVE is my motto and I love LIFE.

    By the way….. what ‘s wrong with having passion?

  129. 141 JOAN GHALI
    May 14, 2009 at 16:49

    NATURE should decide the time to be born and the time to die…….no human being has the right to ever interfere in this natural process.

  130. 142 JOAN GHALI
    May 14, 2009 at 16:58

    Rather than he to teach me how to die I would love to teach Dr. Nitschke how to Live Life to the fullest and how to promote LIFE and celebrate LIFE and be thankful for LIFE…..

    Remember the important phrase …..What does not kill you makes you stronger!

    Remember everything happens for a reason …..Try to believe and Let Nature take it’s natural course!

  131. 143 David
    May 15, 2009 at 18:16

    My advise to this doctor is simple. You must be over 50, unless something is wrong with you. Please show us by example how to end our lives. And surely you have family members who are over 50 and are still alive, unless they took your advice. If so why are they still alive?

    Personally, my life started at 50, and I do not see why I should cut my life short just because you told me or taught me how to do it.

    My intelligent question, if I have any more brain remaining after agonising to understand you and your philosophy: Are you one of those who decided to earn money out of peoples’ suffering? Don’t you think God is capable of healing or finishing up a life? Or do you want us to call you God too?

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