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Dignitas was established by Ludwig Minelli in 1998 as a Swiss, non-profit organization.
Fig 17.1: Dignitas Director, Ludwig Minelli
Based in Zurich, Dignitas aims to provide its members with the option of a dignified death. Recognizing the limitations of organizations such as Exit Deutsche Schweiz, which only provide their services to Swiss nationals, Minelli has
created a service that caters for an increasing demand around the world.
Dignitas’ guidelines state that they assist people who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness, an incurable disease, or who are in a medically hopeless state. Such people may have intolerable pain or an unreasonable handicap. A person does not need to have a terminal illness to be accepted as a client by Dignitas.
Interestingly, Minelli has recently gone further suggesting that people with mental illness should not be automatically excluded from the Dignitas service as their suffering is real and deserves to be addressed as such.