Sunday, 26 August 2012

Fiji rejects Nitschke' death clinic proposal

The Fiji Times reports that the pacific state has no intention of going along with Dr. Nitschke's idea of creating a pacific version of the Swiss Dignitas clinic.

The report also obliquely suggests (reading between the lines) that this proposal may have indeed been rejected at or soon after the idea was originally raised last year.




State rejects death clinic
Nasik Swami
Saturday, August 25, 2012

A PROPOSAL sent to the government to open an euthanasia clinic in the country by Australian euthanasia advocate Dr Philip Nitschke has been rejected.

Confirming this to The Fiji Times, Ministry for Information permanent secretary Sharon Smith-Johns said the Attorney-General's Chambers received a submission from Dr Nitschke in August last year.
"As with all submissions received by the chambers, details of the proposals were requested but there is no plan to establish such a facility," Ms Smith-Johns said.
However, The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Dr Nitschke had proposed a "hastened death service" in Nadi which would operate like the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland, where about 1000 foreigners have died since 1998.
Dr Nitschke is the owner of Exit International, a leading end-of-life choices (voluntary euthanasia/ assisted suicide) information and advocacy organisation.
In his proposal sent to Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Dr Nitschke highlighted that through the opening of such a facility, developing countries could generate considerable income with demand expected to come from Australia, New Zealand, Asia and India who do not have access to physician-assisted suicide.
"As of 2011, only six Australians and no New Zealanders have travelled to use the Dignitas service," he said.
"Given the logistical problems faced by those in the Asia Pacific travelling to Europe when seriously ill, Exit International would suggest that a mirror clinic is well warranted in this region of the world," said Dr Nitschke said.
He said with the Switzerland-based Dignitas charging about $12,000, the Fiji government could make money from government taxes on the service, local burial services and ongoing tourism associated with remembrance of the loved one.
"Only seriously ill patients who are found by a psychiatrist to be of sound mind would be approved to use the service. If people met these criteria, a two-day cooling off period would apply before they could take lethal drugs under medical supervision."
And following his submissions to the Fijian government, he said if approved a service could be set up within six months.
"It would cost between $5000 and $8000 excluding airfares and depending on the Fijian government's taxes and charges," Dr Nitschke said.
He said some people have a lot of money and would love to have option outside of Switzerland.
"The idea of being able to lawfully get on a plane to Fiji and have access to the best of the drugs and the knowledge of a peaceful, supervised death has a lot of appeal."
Meanwhile, former Australian attorney-general in the Whitlam government and Exit member, Kep Enderby also told The Sydney Morning Herald that he hoped Fiji would approve the clinic because he believed people had the right to die with dignity.

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