Nitschke designs new euthanasia machine with detachable coffin

Australia’s best-known euthanasia activist, Dr Philip Nitschke, is back in the news with another machine for committing suicide, the Sarco capsule.

The machine will allow anyone who has the access key to end their life by simply pressing a button. Developed in the Netherlands by Nitschke and an engineer, the machine can be 3D printed and assembled in any location. Access to the Sarco capsule will be by an on-line mental questionnaire which will provide a four-digit access code.

When the person lies in the capsule, he can activate it and liquid nitrogen will rapidly drop the oxygen level,… click here to read whole article and make comments

NEJM debates repairing human germlines

With the rapid advance in gene-editing technology, the time has come to consider how to ethical trials, according to an editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine. Bryan Cwik, a philosopher at Portland State University, in Oregon, zeroes in on some unprecedented difficulties in designing trials of modifying the human germline.

Cwik argues that “intergenerational monitoring” will be needed, not just of the first generation of modified children, but of their children and grandchildren. There could be subtle effects which emerge only after two or three generations. He points out that:

Monitoring for effects of gene… click here to read whole article and make comments

Jehovah Witness woman in Quebec freely chose not to have transfusion and paid with her life

Eloise Dupuis    

A woman was within her rights to refuse a blood transfusion even if she risked dying, said the Quebec coroner this week.

Eloise Dupuis, 27, died in Quebec on October 12, 2016 of multiple organ failure and loss of blood after a Caesarean section. A Jehovah's Witness, she insisted that she did not want to receive a blood transfusion. The coroner, Luc Malouin, said that she had made a free and fully informed choice.

Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that blood transfusions are forbidden by the Bible. Another Quebec woman of the same persuasion, 46-year-old Mirlande… click here to read whole article and make comments

Should Americans excuse FGM as a minority cultural practice?

Dr Jumana Nagarwala

Eight people have been charged with involvement in female genital mutilation in Michigan – the first case in the United States. Dr Jumana Nagarwala is the central figure because she performed the procedure – nicking the clitoral hood of two Minnesota girls who were brought to her by their parents.

All of the defendants are members of an Indian Muslim sect called Dawoodi Bohra.

In a post on The Hastings Center blog, two Muslim physicians from the University of Chicago attempt the difficult task of calling for a compromise on this incendiary… click here to read whole article and make comments

Social egg freezing adverts are often sheer puffery, claims bioethicist

Social egg freezing has become another money-spinner for fertility clinics as women try to reconcile their career ambitions and their desire to have children. In 2014, Facebook and Apple announced that they would subsidise their female employees’ elective — or ‘social’ — use of egg freezing. Since then other tech companies have jumped in the bandwagon, including eBay, Google, Uber, Time Warner and Intel.

But are fertility clinics advertising their product responsibly? According to a bioethicist who did a content analysis of internet advertising, the answer is No. Writing in The New Bioethics, Christopher Barbey, of the Center… click here to read whole article and make comments

Swiss assisted suicide rates increased by 30% in 2015

The rates of assisted suicide in Switzerland increased by 30% in 2015, bringing it close to eclipsing suicide as a cause of death.

965 Swiss residents (426 male and 539 female) died by assisted suicide in Switzerland in 2015, up from 742 deaths (320 male and 422 female) in 2014. Of the 965 deaths by assisted suicide, 822 were of individuals 65 years or older.

1071 swiss residents (792 men and 279 women) committed suicide in Switzerland in 2015, an increase of 43 deaths on 2014.  

Importantly the statistics… click here to read whole article and make comments

Euthanasia debate halted in Victoria after MP rushed to hospital

The bid to introduce euthanasia in Victoria is taking its toll on politicians, with one parliamentarian being rushed to hospital after a marathon 26-hour sitting.

Daniel Mulino, who staunchly opposed the bill, was taken to hospital in an ambulance just before 10:30am on Friday. Mr Mulino had suffered an “emergency” in his office, though colleagues later confirmed that he had stabilised: “I have had an update from Mr Mulino personally, and we can say he is all good”, said Labor MP Jaclyn Symes.

Parliament was adjourned at 11:30am, and will reconvene next… click here to read whole article and make comments

Demand for euthanasia surges in the Netherlands

Euthanasia is becoming so popular in the Netherlands that the country’s only dedicated death clinic cannot keep up with the demand. Steven Pleiter, director of the Levenseindekliniek in Amsterdam, told the Guardian that he needs to double the number of doctors. He is running a high-profile advertising campaign to recruit staff. “Doctors at the clinic euthanised 32 patients in 2012, but it will help 720 people to die by the end of this year,” says the Guardian.

This year about 7,000 people will die by euthanasia – up 67% from five years ago. Euthanasia has become normalised.

click here to read whole article and make comments

Scientists grow skin to save Syrian boy’s life

Good news about stem cells! A group of scientists in Italy have managed to treat a boy suffering from a life-threatening skin condition -- by growing him new skin in a laboratory.

The boy, a syrian refugee living in Germany, suffered from a severe form of junctional epidermolysis bullosa, a genetic disease that causes the skin to become fragile and blister. By the time he received specialist medical attention, the boy had lost almost all his skin (specifically, the epidermal layer of the skin), save a small patch on his leg and head. Doctors in Germany… click here to read whole article and make comments

Let death be didactic

The old Jewish cemetery, Prague / National Geographic

The burning issues of bioethics are euthanasia, abortion, the reproductive revolution, organ donation and brain death, animal welfare and the like. But other topics, although they also deal with respect for the body and death, are almost completely ignored. Cremation, for instance, is a burning issue, but not one which often appears in bioethics journals.

A recent article in The New Bioethics by Toni C. Saad, however, questions increasing acceptance of the practice of cremation on philosophical grounds.

Christianity has deprecated cremation as a symbolic denial of… click here to read whole article and make comments

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