Suicide tourism: a pilot study on the swiss phenomenon

Gauthier, Saskia; Mausbach, Julian; Reisch, Thomas; Bartsch, Christine (2014). Suicide tourism: a pilot study on the swiss phenomenon. Journal of medical ethics, 41(8), pp. 611-617. BMJ Publishing Group 10.1136/medethics-2014-102091

[img] Text
2014_Gauthier_medethics.pdf - Published Version
Restricted to registered users only
Available under License Publisher holds Copyright.

Download (242kB) | Request a copy

While assisted suicide (AS) is strictly restricted in many countries, it is not clearly regulated by law in Switzerland. This imbalance leads to an influx of people —‘suicide tourists’—coming to Switzerland, mainly to the Canton of Zurich, for the sole purpose of committing suicide. Political debate regarding ‘suicide tourism’ is taking place in many countries. Swiss medicolegal experts are confronted with these cases almost daily, which prompted our scientific investigation of the phenomenon. The present study has three aims: (1) to determine selected details about AS in the study group (age, gender and country of residence of the suicide tourists, the organisation involved, the ingested substance leading to death and any diseases that were the main reason for AS); (2) to find out the countries from which suicide tourists come and to review existing laws in the top three in order to test the hypothesis that suicide tourism leads to the amendment of existing regulations in foreign countries; and (3) to compare our results with those of earlier studies in Zurich. We did a retrospective data analysis of the Zurich Institute of Legal Medicine database on AS of on-Swiss residents in the last 5 years (2008–2012), and internet research for current legislation and political debate in the three foreign countries most concerned. We analysed 611 cases from 31 countries all over the world. Non-terminal conditions such as neurological and rheumatic diseases are increasing among suicide tourists. The unique phenomenon of suicide tourism in Switzerland may indeed result in the amendment or supplementary guidelines to existing regulations in foreign countries.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

04 Faculty of Medicine > University Psychiatric Services > University Hospital of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
04 Faculty of Medicine > University Psychiatric Services > University Hospital of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy > Management

UniBE Contributor:

Reisch, Thomas

Subjects:

100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health

ISSN:

0306-6800

Publisher:

BMJ Publishing Group

Language:

English

Submitter:

Prof. Thomas Reisch

Date Deposited:

02 Mar 2015 12:16

Last Modified:

24 Nov 2015 10:34

Publisher DOI:

10.1136/medethics-2014-102091

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.63654

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/63654

Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback