Steep increase in Swiss assisted suicide

by Michael Cook, BioEdge, 28 October 2016

Mr Cook reports that there was a 26% increase in assisted suicide in Switzerland in 2014 compared to the previous year.

According to Swiss.info, a government news service, in 2014 there were 742 cases of assisted suicide in Switzerland, more than 2.5 times as many as five years previously. Assisted suicide accounted for 1.2% of all deaths in Switzerland that year. Men and women were nearly equally represented in the assisted suicide numbers.

In 42% of cases, assisted suicides were provoked by cancer. Neurodegenerative disorders led to 14% of assisted suicides, followed by cardiovascular illnesses at 11% and musculoskeletal maladies at 10%. Most people who chose assisted suicide in 2014 lived in the canton of Zurich.

Assisted suicide has been permitted in Switzerland since the 1940s, but it has accelerated in recent years. It is legal if patients commit the act themselves and those assisting have no vested interest in their death.

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