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The Exit bag is not the only way to create a no-oxygen environment. The 3D-printed Sarco euthanasia capsule fulfills a similar purpose, albeit with much more style and elegance. However, the physiology of the death is exactly the same. The Sarco uses liquid nitrogen to displace the oxygen within the capsule. The person inside the Sarco breathes freely as the liquid nitrogen turns to pure nitrogen gas, which is then inhaled. It is the lack of oxygen that brings about the peaceful death.
In 2010 Exit was contacted by lawyers for Tony Nicklinson, a UK resident with locked-in syndrome. Tony was seeking to end his life at home. There was no question about mental ca- pacity. The problem was Tony’s physical inability to make use of any existing end of life DIY methods. His lawyers asked Exit whether there was some means by which Tony could end his life, with little or no active assistance from any other per- son (in order to keep his family safe from a charge of assisting his suicide).
This request prompted Exit’s initial thinking about Sarco. The Sarco was devised with the aim of creating a capsule that could be flooded with an inert gas on command, either by pressing a button, or upon voice or eye movement activation. There would be no need to source illegal or restricted drugs and no need to prepare, drink or have injected any such substance. Tony would only need to enter the device, close the canopy and activate the mechanism.