Study Addresses Suicide “Tourism” to Switzerland

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Julian Mausbach RA
Geschäftsführer Kompetenzzentrum Medizin – Ethik – Recht Helvetiae
Zürich, Switzerland

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Answer: 611 cases of suicide tourism were found in the canton of Zurich between 2008 and 2012.

More than half of the suicide tourists were women with a median age of 69 years. After an initial decrease in 2009, cases of suicide tourism increased from then on onwards and doubled in 2012. The underlying diseases varied considerably. Main reasons for the assisted suicide were neurological diseases, followed by cancer, rheumatic diseases.

Approximately one third of the study population had more than one disease.

Medical Research: Were any of the findings unexpected?

Answer: In comparison to two former studies regarding assisted suicide in the canton of Zurich,we found a large number of people suffering from neurological diseases. Further research is needed in this field and the ongoing research projects are aiming to show if neurological diseases are upcoming in assisted suicide at all.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Answer:The field of assisted suicide needs further and more detailed research, which is provided by the Swiss National Science Foundation Project >>National Research Programme “End of Life” (NRP 67).

Citation:

Suicide tourism: a pilot study on the Swiss phenomenon
Saskia Gauthier,Julian Mausbach,Thomas Reisch, Christine Bartsch

J Med Ethics medethics-2014-102091Published Online First: 20 August 2014 doi:10.1136/medethics-2014-102091

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