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23 Dec, 2021 14:55

'Dr. Death' proposes implant that would kill user if not turned off

'Dr. Death' proposes implant that would kill user if not turned off

The doctor who developed bizarre ‘suicide pods’ has grabbed the public's attention once more, this time with a body implant for people who might develop dementia that would administer lethal poison if they forgot to turn it off.

Dr. Philip Nitschke, an Australian assisted suicide advocate who administered the first voluntary lethal injection in 1996, has proposed a body implant that would include a button people need to press “regularly,” possibly every day, in order to prevent poison from being released into their bloodstream. It has not been determined what exact kind of poison would be released by the implant. 

Nitschke, dubbed 'Dr. Death' by the media, previously found himself embroiled in controversy after introducing ‘suicide pods’ that kill the user by filling the small space with nitrogen. 

The pods could be ready for operation in Switzerland by next year, the creator revealed earlier this month. The practice of assisted suicide is legal in the country. 

The concern about the body implants, besides larger debates about the legality and morality of assisted suicide, is the fact that users could simply forget to press their button, even if they don’t have dementia. 

The technology, the doctor told The Independent, puts “the responsibility right back onto the person and allows them to get what they want, which is that they do not want to live on as some form of vegetable, with no one prepared to end their lives.”

The doctor admits such technology will face “significant legal barriers,” but he argues it is an “important development” and could protect some doctors from facing an ethical dilemma from someone with early signs of dementia requesting an assisted death. 

To combat against just general forgetfulness, Nitschke said the implants could beep for an entire day or two before they actually release poison into the body. 

“When you’ve forgotten why you’re switching something off that’s beeping, then you will die,” he said.