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The Peaceful Pill eHandbook has been created at a time when there are very few places where Seniors and those who are seriously ill can get information about their end-of-life choices.
In 1996, Australia passed the world’s first right to die law; the Rights of the Terminally Ill Act (ROTI). Under ROTI, four of my seriously ill patients self-administered a legal, lethal overdose of drugs; a Peaceful Pill if you like. All died peacefully in their sleep, surrounded by people they loved.
I know this, because back then I was their treating physician. I was the one who put the needle into their veins. And I was the one who built the ‘Deliverance Machine’ that they used to die. The Deliverance Machine was a laptop computer and program that gave these individuals the ultimate control over their deaths. Their deaths taught me much, but mostly how important it is for peole to be allowed to have control at the end.
On each separate occasion, the computer presented a short series of questions:
1. Are you aware that if you go ahead to the last screen and press the ‘yes’ button you will be given a lethal dose of medications and die?
2. Are you certain you understand that if you proceed and press the ‘yes’ button on the next screen you will die?
3. In 15 seconds you will be given a lethal injection … press ‘yes’ to proceed.