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See the Assisted Death Machine that will Democratize Dying by 2019

May 1, 2018
Justin Crowe

Justin believes that remarkable experiences enrich our lives. The poor experience surrounding cremated remains is inhibiting our ability to grieve, and his forthcoming technology introduces a clean, touchable, beautiful alternative.

See the Assisted Death Machine that will Democratize Dying by 2019

Dr. Philip Nitschke is one of the world’s outspoken advocates for assisted suicide. He is founder of Exit International, an organization that promotes voluntary euthanasia, as well as author of the Suicide Guide book The Peaceful Pill. His newest project is a universally available assisted death machine called Sarco that democratizes death – advocating that every person has the right to choose to live or not to live.

Some 20 years ago, I became the first physician in the world to administer a legal, lethal, voluntary injection to four of my terminally ill patients (under Australia’s short-lived Rights of the Terminally Ill Act),” Nitschke told Huffington Post.  “At the time, I approached death with the confidence, and even arrogance, of someone in the middle of his life. I was about to turn 50. At a psychological level, death was still something that happened to other people.

The Rights of the Terminally Ill Act successfully ended four lives before Australia repealed it in 1997. Nitschke told Newsweek that ending legal euthanasia “didn’t stop people from coming to me saying that they wanted to die.” He’s spent the last 20 years fighting for the legalization of euthanasia with his non-profit Exit International and late last year it was legalized in the state of Victoria in Australia.

Nitschke has also spent the last 20 years developing inventions and technology for euthanasia and assisted suicide. Now that euthanasia is legal in his home country, he has announced new details about his assisted death machine called Sarco.

Death Machine | Sarco

The premise for Sarco is simple: Nitschke wanted to invent a universally available, painless, fast, convenient euthanasia machine. The Sarco is a modern, space ship-looking capsule that the user will lay inside of. It’s base contains canisters of liquid nitrogen that replaces the oxygen in the sealed space causing an intoxicated painless death. And more, the upper capsule compartment is removable and can be repurposed as a casket.

As my work in this field has matured, my vision has shifted from supporting the idea of a dignified death for the terminally ill (the medical model) to supporting the concept of a good death for any rational adult who has “life experience” (the human rights model). At Exit International, the nonprofit organization I founded after the aforementioned overturning of the world’s first voluntary euthanasia law, we interpret that to mean anyone over 50 years of age.

To use the Sarco, potential users must pass an online test of mental fitness to receive an secure access code that works for 24 hours. After the code is entered, the Sarco capsule will fill up with liquid nitrogen bringing the oxygen level down to just 5%. After one minute the user passes out and after a few more – death by hypoxia, an environment with low levels of oxygen.

The Sarco is on-track to become available next year, and Nitschke is already in talks with suicide clinics in Switzerland to license the machine. Europe is no stranger to assisted suicide – nearly 5 percent of all deaths in the Netherlands are due to euthanasia or assisted suicide.

Dr.Philip Nitschke | Sarco
Dr.Philip Nitschke, inventor of the Sarco. Photo: Frederieke van der Molen

Nitschke has many critics, but he summed up the most common criticism for Tonic:

“The most common argument is that there is no such thing as rational suicide, and that a death wish is, per definition, the result of a psychiatric illness. I reject that idea.”

By next year, the open-source plans for Sarco will be freely available on internet for ambitious users to 3D-print. I don’t see the Sarco as the next fad in dying… but the product will provide a beautiful new perspective on when and how we die.

What do you think of a democratized death by Sarco Death Machine? Let us know in the comments!

Death Machine | Sarco