BRITS at the end of their life may travel Dignitas clinic to die – since the practice of assisted dying is legal under certain circumstances in Switzerland.
But what is Dignitas and where is the assisted dying clinic?
What is Dignitas?
Dignitas is a non-profit society which provides assisted or accompanied suicide to its members, provided their wishes are signed off by independent doctors.
Founded in 1998, over 2,100 people have died with Dignitas' help, in assisted suicides at home or at the society's house near Zürich.
What happens at the Dignitas clinic?
The Swiss society helps members with severe physical or mental illnesses, as well as the terminally ill, to end their own lives.
Dignitas also does advisory work on end-of-life care, healthcare and suicide prevention, as well as lobbying governments on right-to-die laws.
Where is the Dignitas clinic?
Dignitas rents a number of apartments in Zurich, and also has a house near the city.
They offer assisted suicide at the house, as well as giving members the choice to die at their homes in Switzerland.
Can anyone go to Dignitas?
Members who want an assisted death have to prove that they are of sound judgement, and have to be able to bring about their deaths themselves.
They must submit a formal request, including a letter explaining why they want to die, and have their wishes approved by doctors who aren't part of the organisation.
British patients wishing to die have travelled to Switzerland to pay for an assisted death at one of Dignitas' rented apartments.
Both euthanasia and assisted suicide are illegal in the UK, with euthanasia carrying a maximum penalty of life in jail.
The only exception to this is "passive euthanasia", which involves the withdrawal of treatment to extend someone's life, like a life support machine being turned off.
In Switzerland, active euthanasia is also illegal, although it is not a crime to prescribe lethal drugs, provided the recipient takes an active role in taking them.
Essentially, Swiss law only allows for providing the means to commit suicide, so long as the reasons for doing so aren't selfish.
How much does assisted suicide at Dignitas cost?
Dignitas reportedly charges between €4,000 (£3,600) and €7,000 (£6,400) for assisted suicide.
The cheaper option includes preparation and suicide assistance, while more expensive fees can include taking over family duties and funeral costs.
Additional medical bills may be involved in the process, since full approval from independent doctors is needed before someone can die with Dignitas.
However, the society has been known to waive certain costs for patients struggling to pay.
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