An accompanying article in the same NTvG edition, Auto- Intoxication with ‘Suicide Powder’, examined the use of sodium nitrite as a potential a suicide agent. Here the authors (all doctors) were even more critical, claiming ‘the mechanism of death is suffocation, and because of the unbearable symptoms, sodium nitrite is an extremely unsuitable suicide agent’.
These claims were based on only two case studies. One involved a 27-year old male who took nitrite to end his life, was found unconscious and could not be revived. The second was a 31- year old male who took nitrite but was then almost immediately attended by emergency paramedics. He had a short stay in hospital and was later discharged with no residual symptoms. In neither case was any evidence provided that would support the claim that nitrite caused ‘unbearable symptoms’ or that it was ‘an extremely unsuitable suicide agent’. This was opinion dressed up as science which, in the premiere professional journal of a national medical body, is extremely disappointing.
The clear display of prejudice, bias and lack of scientific rigor in the published articles in this eminent medical journal remains difficult to understand. Some insight can be found in the same edition’s editorial (by Yve Smulders) when he states that he has ‘difficulty with the ideology (of suicide): This is self-determination in the form of a dictatorship, in which no one is allowed to restrict another person from making decisions about himself”. Smulder’s remarks smack of a hostile political personal opinion masquerading as ‘science’ with the aim of trying to undermine and discredit any use of the ‘suicide salts’.