Switzerland is a country that deserves congratulations for being open-minded enough in helping foreigners get a peaceful death at a time of their choosing. However, this openness does not mean that there are no drawbacks, because there are. The Swiss VAD groups all operate a medical model of assisted dying. What do we mean by this?
The Swiss organisations all use Nembutal (sodium pentobarbital) to help people to die. Yet only Swiss doctors can prescribe Nembutal to a person/ patient. It is this that makes the doctors a necessary part of the equation in Switzerland. Let us explain further.
In order for a doctor to write a script for Nembutal, he/ she must have a reason. This means that the doctor must review one’s medical records (even if the person is not sick). This is why the process is a medical one, despite the fact that under Swiss law anyone can help another person to die.
There is, of course, some leeway in terms of the doctor who prescribes the Nembutal. Different organisations operate with different doctors. All are individuals. While there are always limits, a helpful doctor will understand a person’s reasons for wanting to die and take very seriously their decision to do so.