Bioethics Blogs

Three New Technologies for Self Deliverance

To the extent that I focus on end-of-life issues, I focus (in articles, conferences, medically-managed means of hastening death:
policy counsel) on

  1. Withholding/Withdrawing Treatment
  2. Voluntary Stopping Eating & Drinking (VSED)
  3. Medical Aid in Dying

Contrast the just-concluded World Federation of Right to Die Societiesconference in Amsterdam. One session reviewed three new technologies for self-deliverance: 

  1. Richard Cone, MD, with Final Exit Network, provided data on ten patients who used nitrogen for self-deliverance. Comparing it with sparse data on the helium method it appeared to be almost the same in terms of time from inhalation to coma and to death. Everyone died in less than 17 minutes. The tank was easier to use than helium (now mostly diluted) and can be ordered on line and delivered to one’s home.
  2. Ted Ballou (NuTech) and Tom Curran (Exit International) presented ona kit for measuring the purity of nembutal ordered from abroad.
  3. George Eighmey (Death with Dignity National Center) explained the new formulation which is replacing the now very expensive secobarbital (US $3000 to $3500): chloral hydrate, morphine and phenobarbital — which apparently burns the throat going down. More work on alternatives needs to be done and the audience of about 70 people were enthusiastic in making suggestions.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.