Why this Swiss doctor supports assisted suicide

Every year, over 1,000 seriously ill people end their lives in Switzerland with the help of suicide assistants.

This content was published on November 9, 2021 minutes

Assisted suicide is legal in several countries, including Switzerland, Canada and the Netherlands. A handful of other countries – like Germany and Colombia – are working out the legal and practical details.

Some people even travel great distances to die in Switzerland because assisted suicide is illegal where they live. For example, a 104-year-old Australian man made the trip in 2018.

One of the people who helped him was Erika Preisig, a Swiss doctor and the founder of LifecircleExternal link, which operates in Basel in the northern part of the country. She’s passionate in her belief that people should have the right to die. She’s even been charged with -- and later acquitted of -- murder.

Long before she started doing assisted suicide, Preisig worked in palliative care. Then her father had a stroke and threatened to throw himself in front of a train. Preisig decided to help him find another way, as she was telling SWI reporter Jessica Dacey.

This episode is the first of a two-part series on the topic. In the next episode, we’ll hear the stories of two seriously ill Japanese patients who came to Basel in 2021.

Part two is here:

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