MOSCOW, August 21 (RIA Novosti) - From 2008 to 2012, the number of people seeking to end their lives at euthanasia clinics in Switzerland has doubled, according to a new study carried out by the University of Zurich.
“Of the 611 cases included in the study, 58.5 percent were women (annual range 54–62 percent). The age ranged from 23 to 97 years, with a median of 69. … after an initial decrease between 2008 and 2009, cases of suicide tourism identified in the Canton of Zurich increased from then onwards and doubled in number by 2012,” says the study, published in the Law, Ethics & Medicine journal.
Residents of 31 different countries were helped to end their lives in Switzerland between 2008 and 2012. Germany tops the list with 268 so-called “suicide tourists” leaving for Swiss euthanasia clinics during the period, followed by the United Kingdom with 126, France with 66 and Italy with 44.
Most of the deaths were caused by sodium pentobarbital, which is also used for lethal injections by the US state of Texas, while four were caused by helium inhalation. Accounting for nearly half of the cases, neurological conditions were the most common reason for seeking euthanasia, followed by cancer and rheumatic diseases.
According to University of Zurich researchers, Swiss “suicide tourism” has sparked political debate abroad and resulted in the home countries of euthanasia seekers revising legislation.