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    Suicide For Birthday Best Present Ever
    By Sascha Vongehr | July 18th 2014 07:28 AM | 24 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Sascha

    Dr. Sascha Vongehr [风洒沙] studied phil/math/chem/phys in Germany, obtained a BSc in theoretical physics (electro-mag) & MSc (stringtheory)...

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         Today is my 43rd birthday. When I was 34 years old, I walked along a narrow river through the city of Nanning in the south of China. I was lonely and depressed, no matter the PhD degree I had recently obtained, my freedom, the beauty all around, the women I could easily befriend wherever.

    I came to the conclusion that my life is not worth its suffering, and that it must either change, that I must change, or it is idiotic to go on living. I asked myself:

         “How long will you go on just because you are afraid of dying? Will you go on and on just in order to then kick the bucket after perhaps 60 years anyway? Such a scenario is a pretty bad deal, especially considering that you could have finished it much earlier.”

         I considered something that leads straight to a more serious, indeed a deadly serious conclusion:

         “You are 34 now, very intelligent, extremely educated, strong, they say beautiful; you could have whatever you want, yet none of it has the ultimate purpose, that deeper ‘meaning’ you somehow cannot stop to demand. Surely, given this situation after 34 years, if in yet another big chunk of time there is still no improvement, you must admit that improvement is highly unlikely to ever happen. Hope will be a mere prolonging of suffering, a cowardly failure to act rationally.”

    Dong Qiao in Nanning, 2006, close to the place where and at the time when I decided to commit suicide if in eight years life should still be the same drag it had been for the previous decades.

         And so, in deadly serious conclusion, I gave myself an ultimatum, a promise, a birthday present:

         “34 now, so let’s turn the numbers around and say that if with 43 you are still not enjoying this trip, ending it must be considered very seriously; yes, you must end it then.”

         I knew I could theoretically “end” the trip by “merely” changing it. But ask: Why do almost all, also those who blame their situation on outside circumstances such as financial troubles, commit suicide without first emptying their bank account or rob a bank and then go on a drug fueled party spree, and then afterwards kill themselves? What bad could happen except getting killed? What “bad” can happen but that you may discover a new way of life which you actually enjoy and which is perhaps even sustainable; you would not be the first criminal thinking to himself “Gee, I can’t believe I got away with that, and look at me now still twenty years later.” What worse can happen but that even such most radical change leads to darkness again after a short while, at which point you can still kill yourself?

         The reason why we do not do such, why we do not quit our job and tell our family “good bye, I am off to India” is not that we are considerate of the suffering we maybe cause to others, nor is it about that drugs supposedly do not make happy. Of course drugs make happy, especially if you do not need to worry about long term consequences, which you do not need to when committing suicide soon anyway. Such answers, especially if they pretend to be concerned with the suffering of others, are politically correct nonsense. In fact, those close to you are more likely to start a better life for themselves if shown the strength of your going to India to try living with the holy men. Usually, even your suicide will be a crisis that opens their eyes, that improves their lives in the long term.

         The reason why people hardly ever change in such ways is mainly that we are afraid of such bold steps to freedom. We are more afraid of them than of continued suffering and even dying. We know that we will not dare to actually quit our job tomorrow morning and just walk away south. Not now, maybe next year, but then again not, because it will be next year’s “now” at that point. And we ‘know’ this; in some way we are aware of that we are too chicken to do such, and therefore, such strong change is just not a practical solution. It is only a step that “could theoretically be taken”, but practically, suicide, a much more radical step, is taken instead. A quick suicide allows us to save face and get out of all the guilt feelings and fears still to come.

         The fear of harsh judgment, yes even the fear of ending up penniless is stronger than the fear of death! Seen in this way, suicide is indeed cowardly and embarrassingly silly, but it is no sillier or more cowardly than simply staying alive: we are animals driven by emotions whatever we do. This irrationality is one reason for why pseudo rational arguments such as when based on the purportedly great value of life, do not help suicidal people. And people who argue like that do not truly want rationality either. A rational person with moral values who wants to kill herself may decide to take a bunch of bad people with her, thus starting a killing spree reserving the last bullet for herself. Surely, that is not what the suicide hotline counselor has in mind.

         Big changes are usually not a practical alternative. Moreover, not even small changes can be made, because we know, and this is part of the depression, that we won’t change, that people almost never change themselves consciously in deep ways. Expecting that nothing will change, that again and again still in years to come we will be realizing to have had no substantial change, no improvement, suicide is taken as the practical way out.

         I refuse to find much wrong with this! I refuse to tell the depressed that he is all wrong and should simply snap out of it. I know how to talk to somebody like that 34 year old. He is not stupid and wants to be taken seriously, his perspective is a valid view. Yes, indeed, suicide is a way out. It was my way out, too!

         Notice that time is an important issue here, for example the absence of a fixed length of time, a certain period that can be easily considered. The depressed mind often considers an ongoing dread with no end in sight. That is why I gave myself a certain time window, namely from 34 to 43.

         Death is your best friend; many wise understood this, and many who understood this, obtained wisdom through this understanding. And therefore, I turned to him, to death, to suicide at 43. I knew that this may help to change me, because from then on, with only just above eight more years to live anyway, much like with the few remaining years of a terminally ill person, the unimportant is actually, practically rejected. I am dead in a few years – why should I worry about all that which makes me unhappy? With death close by, what makes life bearable or even worth living is no longer something left for after retirement, postponed until the time is ripe, which usually is never. Change is easier, it is basically automatic in the face of impending death.

         With suicide thus accepted, and change thus enabled, these two, suicide and change, are no longer opposites, not mutually exclusive choices. Suicide and change become each other, because the deep change I desire involves the killing of parts of myself, my desires, my delusions, the killing of much if not almost all of what I identify with, my self-identification, my self   thus, “suicide”, the killing of my self myself. For example, meditation can be seen as a way of killing my incessant inner voice.

         And so, over the years, I have made suicide an important topic for me, not just because it is an increasingly important topic anyway, but in order to kill myself. And now, I have changed through that, I have killed that 34 year old, because he was unfit for living, not worth even to him himself.

         Now, the 43 year old is something different, something the 50 year old will perhaps describe as utterly mistaken, still or again, when he finally shoots himself perhaps. Do not exclaim “Halleluiah, he has overcome that evil disease of suicidal ideation.” Nonsense! I am standing on the ledge; the view from here is something to behold – perhaps life is only enjoyable right here on the ledge, at least for me.

         What parts of myself did I kill? I am now able to seriously argue that almost everything I say is wrong and misleading. Actually, I chickened out and embarked on a ridiculous tour de force of rationalization. I merely got older. Otherwise, I am the same, a coward who now deludes himself in slightly more sophisticated ways, making a big deal out of his obsessions along the way, even just another pathetic wannabe smartass on the internet, trying to cash out on emotional coming-outs and deservedly failing. But watch this pretentious, narcissist gesture of pseudo-intellectual meta-meta level overreach:

         Precisely, I say, precisely! The guy who refused such charges is dead; death gave him the strength to kill himself, and being dead gives his remains the strength to fear no more    this is the truth also of those holy men.

    -------Suicide Series:

    Should I Kill Myself?

    Suicide: Life Ends Six Meters Above the Ground

    A Deadly Proof Is Published - Is Your Mind Stable Enough To Read It?

    Approaching Suicide Positively

    Identity Crisis: Authenticity vs Suppression Of Cognitive Dissonance

    Did Aaron Swartz Commit Rational Suicide?

    Is The Perverse Antisocial The Price For Peace?

    Comments

    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    Great article Sascha. Only one sentence that I fundamentally disagree with and that is that  'Usually, even your suicide will be a crisis that opens their eyes, that improves their lives in the long term.' I do think that suicide is an option for everyone that can ironically make living more tolerable. BTW happy birthday and hopefully many happy returns :)
    My article about researchers identifying a potential blue green algae cause & L-Serine treatment for Lou Gehrig's ALS, MND, Parkinsons & Alzheimers is at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    vongehr
    Thank you Helen, not only for the birthday wishes, but for you as a suicide counselor not hating this piece. ;-)
     concerned with the suffering of others, are politically correct nonsense.
    Often it is, but it's not necessarily so. Can Asperger's be distorting your viewpoint here?

    Usually, even your suicide will be a crisis that opens their eyes, that improves their lives in the long term.
    That's possible, but there's no guarantee of that. It depends so much on whether they can learn and change their approach and lifestyle from life's events.  I know you go on to say, 

    The reason why people hardly ever change in such ways is mainly that we are afraid of such bold steps to freedom.
    But what if most of us suspect that "suicide" is just a mechanism of intelligence gone awry? Most other species of life don't commit it.  

    I refuse to find much wrong with this! I refuse to tell the depressed that he is all wrong and should simply snap out of it.
    Well, those who say that to the depressed are using a naive approach because they're assuming that a few words or show of empathy can instantaneously create whatever cell assemblies are needed to displace the ones responsible for the suicidal tendencies. 
     For example, meditation can be seen as a way of killing my incessant inner voice.
    Ah! so now we are discussing it on a metaphorical level. This is now beginning to sound like Castaneda's Don Juan, which I found very neat when I stumbled upon it at age 17....I'd wish you happy birthday, but isn't that one of those meaningless things like "congratulations"?  :)

    Self-awareness, emotions, and intelligence exist because they benefit our species. But they can be hazardous to individuals in the form of suicidal thoughts or harmful behaviors. You should always fight hazards of the mind, so that your ability to contribute to survival of our species is maintained. Beyond reproduction, living among society helps it improve. In other words, if you are questioning your worth and contemplating suicide, you should remember that every life is important, not just for yourself, but to humanity.

    In case you find the need, here is a list of suicide hotlines in China. http://www.suicide.org/hotlines/international/china-suicide-hotlines.html

    vongehr
    You should always ... so that your ability to contribute to survival of our species is maintained ... reproduction ... every life is important ... to humanity.

    Why don't you write that I must stay alive to make babies no matter what because the survival of the white race is the reason for my being alive or the survival of my German blood is my higher purpose? Oh, no, that would not be PC now, would it? But "humanity", whatever the hell that is supposed to be as the robots rise and AI emerges and merges, that you can write and feel all warm and fuzzy and get approval. Have fun ensuring the survival of the species regardless of how much its components suffer, as if the species has any enjoyment of its own "life" whatsoever.

    That such idiocy is straight away telling us to call the damn suicide hotlines is typical and illustrates part of why those hotlines are crap - so thank you for this stupid comment. How many people have been pushed over the edge by those wannabe heroes out to rescue mankind and baby Jesus? These hotlines are nothing but another mechanism that orders the stupid back in line. Ever talked to one of them? Careful - don't kill yourself afterward.
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    Sascha, suicide and/or crisis hotlines can be useful for suicidal, depressed and/or lonely people who call them, depending upon who answers the call of course. I don't think its fair to dismissively say 'these hotlines are crap'. You imply that you have called them in the past when you say that they are 'wannabe heroes out to rescue mankind and baby Jesus' and ask the commenter above if s/he had 'ever talked to one of them?' 

    All counsellors are not equal, no matter how well they are trained and the scientifically proven best predictor of a good outcome for the client in any counselling relationship is how well the client and counsellor connect. If someone is 100% determined to  commit suicide then I doubt if they would call a suicide hotline, unless it is just to say fxxx you and/or goodbye, which does sometimes happen. They call because they want help.

    Crisis counselling is an avenue for people to express their distress and be heard by a good crisis counsellor who is probably a volunteer who should give unconditionally positive regard for the caller and care about the causes of this distress and should altruistically want to help the caller explore ways to minimise their pain, rediscover and/or explore reasons to to live, enable their coping with life and develop a short term safety plan. Religion should not enter into this unless it is a topic that the client wishes to discuss. Another important role these crisis hotlines play is to provide the suicidal and/or depressed or lonely caller with approved referrals to professional organisations and counsellors who can provide them with future ongoing support, not just one off support from a random crisis counsellor on a crisis line. Also, if someone does attempt suicide while on the phone line or threatens to do so shortly afterwards, they will often be legally obliged to call their supervisor who will then decide whether to call the emergency services with or without the callers consent, even though they can't take away anyone's right to contemplate or attempt suicide. 

    Sucidal ideation can help people to cope better with very difficult life circumstances, simply knowing that escape is possible, even though they may never really intend to commit suicide. Counselling can also help people to identify realistic goals and develop strategies to achieve future happiness and feel optimistic about their lives.
    My article about researchers identifying a potential blue green algae cause & L-Serine treatment for Lou Gehrig's ALS, MND, Parkinsons & Alzheimers is at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    miles
    Nice article Sascha.  
    The topic, I believe,  is everybody's concern, scientist or not.


    Being an imperfect one, living in an imperfect world, run by imperfect leaders is not a joke. Surely, "The truest bravery is to dare to live" as someone said ( Sir Thomas Brown (?)).


    "...many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness, beyond a wholesome discipline be gentle with yourself..." ( desiderata, Sir Max Ehrmann)
    There's a series of lectures posted on youtube by Shelley Kagan on Death. Very interesting stuff and it discusses a lot of similar issues. It's part of a philosophy course so perhaps it comes at it from a slightly more academic viewpoint than your personal experiences, but I for one found it fascinating. Start at the beginning and just watch one a day in the evening with a nice glass of wine!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2J7wSuFRl8&list=PLEA18FAF1AD9047B0

    BTW when are you going to get back to your explanations of various quantum phenomena? I enjoyed those. Perhaps you could do a piece on the pros/cons of copenhagen/many worlds/de broglie/consistent histories etc and how they agree with various experiments?

    vongehr
    He also gave a whole lecture course on suicide years ago - all the usual stuff that one is allowed to say in a university, nothing approaching what I dare to say, for example about the Fermi paradox.

    And about "Perhaps you could do a piece on ...": That is precisely why I write less and less about such. If even those who like my articles refuse to grasp what I am after, that I do not do "pieces", which you can read plenty everywhere else on the net, I may as well stop writing altogether and think about what I am doing wrong.
    Death can only be bad if "someone" exists to experience the bad. Since there is no awareness after death, it cannot be bad. Similarly, pleasure can only be experienced by "someone". If no one exists, the pleasure cannot be missed. But once existence begins, pain will also be experienced. Does the pleasure of existence outweigh the pain? According to the asymmetry principle, the pleasure of existence does not outweigh the concomitant pain.

    This conclusion is strictly based on logic and ethical reasoning. I say this to point out that discussions of suicide or death are not necessarily related to personal mental states as many are won't to believe but could have real public policy implications.

    One such implication is whether the state should assist persons who have decided to commit suicide to do so in the least harmful and the most effective way, rather than endangering others. Woman nearly kills pedestrian after hurling herself from apartment

    Presently, the state is trying to prevent persons from committing suicide. Golden Gate Bridge to Become Suicide-Proof With $76 Million Steel Net

    Of course, this would be expected, as suicides would have an effect on the labour force and could be destabilizing for the system if it were to increase above a certain level.

    The question is whether it is ethical not to assist those who want to commit suicide to do so, since the bad part of the whole issue is not the actual death as explained above but the process to reach death which involves significant anxiety.

    Quentin Rowe
    R.I.P. SV[34] Happy Birthday SV[43] :-)
    Quentin Rowe
    Your articles are often a rich meal, requiring numerous re-readings in order to properly digest. Hence my extended comment.
    First off, welcome to the ledge - plenty of fresh air and yes, a surprisingly good view... 

    You ask why don't potential suicidees go on antisocial crime-sprees, ditching all empathy & responsibilities along the way. Observing the few criminals I've met, I conclude that to various degrees, that is indeed what they are committing to - an indefinitely delayed suicide, not unlike your particular flavour of suicide.

    You don't elaborate on the nature of your suffering at the tender age of 34. I argue that the detail is irrelevant. Are you happy, are you suffering, to me is a choice, a point of view. That we are directed one way or another, is an illusion. In a multiverse, you merely have to transport yourself over those spooky distances to the desired version of yourself. There it lies, waiting, just like death...

    Historians have often put it that the Copernican shift in view, that removed our little planet earth from the center of all things, has cast a depressive light over our worldly affairs. Little Us. Alone in a vast cosmos. Insignificant.

    And what of the multiverse? Does this view merely increase the degree of our isolation, our insignificance? There is no need, however, that insignificance should be seen as a negative, depressive force.

    All that we see can be viewed as one vast gaping chasm of Wittgenstein Silence. An uber-neutral, indifferent world to live and die in. This silence is often perceived on first encounter as brutally devoid of sustenance. And yet, once it is realised that is we who ripple that silent pond, merely by becoming aware of it, we can then realise that this neutralness is the pivot point of all we experience. It is the source.

    So, fuck it! In your leisurely stroll towards death, suffer when you want. Your choice! But if you need a partner-in-crime for your 'spree', I'm up for a guest appearance before either of us die. I invite you to invite us to meet, next time I'm in CN, perhaps to sit and dangle our feet over the ledge. This I could enjoy, not so sure about you though...
    vongehr
    You ask why don't potential suicidees go on antisocial crime-sprees, ditching all empathy & responsibilities along the way.
    No, and the other example of taking a few bad guys with you is there to stress the morality of the choice.

    About multiverses and all that: I hoped that the discussion would pick up on that time is important, on that there is a valid suggestion here because of that aspect. Failed again.
    Quentin Rowe
    No, and the other example of taking a few bad guys with you is there to stress the morality of the choice.
    You say why aren't they, I answer that they are out there, doing what you suppose isn't happening. And I understand the morality behind it - I deliberately chose not to use the 'm' word. It is my understanding that carrying out immoral acts carries with it a degree of suffering, so this path would not completely solve the problem, whatever the problem is.

    You stress the time aspect, you seem to be saying that by allowing some time before deciding whether to commit an act, is being more deliberate, more rational about your suicide options. So what's the difference between 8 years and 8 seconds?
    The depressed mind often considers an ongoing dread with no end in sight.
    This to me is the most important statement of the whole article. This state of mind sees one solution only. It implies stagnation is the worst possible hell. From what you are describing, you've always been on the ledge, perhaps more aware than others that the option of suicide is a viable option, at hand, if and when you choose to act it out. So what!
    Suicide and change become each other, because the deep change I desire involves the killing of parts of myself, my desires, my delusions, the killing of much if not almost all of what I identify with, my self-identification, my self   thus, “suicide”, the killing of my self myself.
    I've been struggling to understand the issue of what needs improving, what is your definition of improvement? Above is the closest you have come to explaining this. Yet, it contains a contradiction - you desire to kill your desires? I spent a considerable part of my life suppressing desires, and now I realise what a mistake that was. The above paragraph effectively says 'what's the point, why was I even born?' And the universe answers with the Wittgenstein Silence. The source is fundamentally neutral, (w)holy even - but who want's to be that, be there? Disturb it, and you are living. That is desire.

    As is usual with you, I'm reading your post once again, just to be sure before I post :) . I find your second-last paragraph indicates to me this is really just a note to yourself. That paragraph sums up all the comments that could ever be posted in reply.

    It's too clever by half, really. I should have just answered with "".


    vongehr
    You say why aren't they, I answer that they are out there, doing what you suppose isn't happening.
    There are all kinds, but I doubt that the people you refer to, perhaps many psychopaths among them, are really what I considered here. Perhaps I am hung in a true Scotsmen argument now. I think it is rare and there is somewhat of a contradiction such as that those who are able to do that are not the ones getting close to common suicide in the first place.
    you seem to be saying that by allowing some time before deciding whether to commit an act, is being more deliberate
    You write it as if it is about allowing time to consider, which is not my point. Moreover, it is important that a decision was actually made rather than postponed (not "time before deciding").
    From what you are describing, you've always been on the ledge,
    How so? No, I have not been. I went there deliberately at that point.
    I've been struggling to understand the issue of what needs improving, what is your definition of improvement? Above is the closest you have come to explaining this. Yet, it contains a contradiction - you desire to kill your desires?
    That is the Zen of it all, is it not. And even after realizing there is no solution, we go on searching. Can't do anything, nor not do anything. The dao path, aimless aim, blah blah. All I can positively say about this is to try enjoy the contradiction instead of being worried by it. Core contradictions are the origin, for example of language in order to refer to anything - consistency may be like causality and time an apriori "illusion" - but as a physicist I am not allowed to say such too seriously (yet).
    Quentin Rowe
    I confess your article tickled a nerve in me, still a little raw from a good friend killing himself a few years back. Life goes on...
    Your above points are duly absorbed, particularly, the 'made' rather than 'postponed' aspect... :-)

    Enjoy the contradiction, I like that.
    - but as a physicist I am not allowed to say such too seriously (yet).
    The winds of change are blowing. As a non-scientist I've a certain freedom to blah-blah, but as a physicist, you are required to be far more rigorous. You'll get a lot further with that.
    “...the deep change I desire involves the killing of parts of myself, my desires, my delusions, the killing of much if not almost all of what I identify with, my self-identification, my self – thus, “suicide”, the killing of my self myself.”

    No wonder you’re depressed, desiring to kill yourself off piece by piece. Forget about Zen, it’s incomplete, only half the story at best of the everything you are. “Suicide and change become each other,” and are also part of the everything that is you, which also includes everything else.

    Carl Jung explored the darkest sides of the everything he was and embraced them as parts of the himself that is everything. He wrote down this journey in “The Red Book”. I think you would enjoy this read as much as I did, and you have the luxury of experiencing it in the original German. It would make great BD gift to yourself, all of you.

    vongehr
    Reminder: This is a science site!

    So stuff C.G. Jung into the equally dark hole where he came from and perhaps focus on what the author of the above article writes, for example, I mention the issue of time a lot (more than I thought necessary, but I keep overestimating so called educated people). Maybe, just because I do not enjoy writing "scientists have found" nonsense, it does not mean that I like to pull astrology out my backside Jung style.

    Thanks guys.
    Many things to chat with you Sascha, as I am a misteriously suicide survivor,

    I would propose you to assess firstly how much are you present in your heart, because the information within the heart and your connection to the love in the center of your heart should not be disregarded by any conscienceness.

    My experience tells me that suicide is not a problem solver, except a short term one for the person aiming for it, but the way of the courage of a conscienceness is to juggle through the traps of its own mind and the mind of the others, by doing its own best at every moment.

    Depending on the level of one's conscienceness, this way of reconnecting oneself with the love present in the center of one's heart takes a very variable time.

    As far as I am concerned, changes in me only occured after an insight of the need to change in the direction of Love inside me, and then, like a scientist in experiment, a lot of continuous practice with try and error, and every time when needed a balance about improvements. I believe that any time of the way, "this is only the beginning towards being with Love and Conscienceness within myself" is a adequate way to be humble and to recycle your motivation. I also believe that this way of Being will last until my final moments, when my time will come.

    Please be aware that all the mystery is not to be solved, read of listened by you in your life, as now we as more than 7 billion people with a piece of our puzzle, and we should only focus in giving a contribution to enrich the mistery and its explannations, scientifically or not,

    Quantum phenomena could be closer to Love than expected before.

    I believe in every one's unique and individual DNA or gifts, as you prefer, so the discussion about suicide and conscienceness, altough having collective characteristics (e.g. Jung's work), is case by case.

    All the best of you every moment, all the best to you every moment,

    Pedro

    Your death is certain anyway, but meanwhile there is a brief, never to be repeated opportunity for things to be more interesting. Even for moments of surprise and pleasure.

    Certainly there is no 'ultimate' purpose for anything, but your suffering can be managed through drugs, self-delusion, and basic animal instinct, so why ever would you not play the game/retain agency for as long as you can?

    Dying now would do nothing to offset the suffering already experienced, while dying later at least allows the remote possibility of a net suffering reduction in the ledger, as perception changes, management improves or surprise intervenes.

    Hfarmer
    You are brave for sharing these thoughts.  
    Science advances as much by mistakes as by plans.
    coward.

    vongehr
    Yes, sorry, but I was really starting to sweat during sleepless nights with so much intense truth and brilliance below my nonsense. People may start to see how stupid I am. My article again missed the point of your comments entirely.
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    I thought it might be relevant to mention here that last week Dr Philip Haig Nitschke had his medical practitioner's license revoked by the Australian Medical Association on the grounds that he presents "a serious risk to public health and safety". Nitschke is an Australian humanist, author and founder and director of the pro-euthanasia group Exit International. In 1996 Dr Nitsche  received the Rainier Foundation Humanitarian Award, in 1998, he was recognised as the Australian Humanist of the Year by the Council of Australian Humanist Societies and he has twice been a finalist for Australian of the Year (2005&2006). According to the Philip Haig Nitschke Wikipedia article :-
    Nitschke campaigned successfully to have a legal euthanasia law passed in Australia's Northern Territory and assisted four people in ending their lives before the law was overturned by the Federal government. Nitschke says he was the first doctor in the world to administer a legal, voluntary, lethal injection.[3]
    Nitschke believes that people's right to control death is as fundamental as their right to control life[37] and in having the Peaceful Pill available for every adult of sound mind.[7]
    In 2014 Nitschke was approached after a workshop by Nigel Brayley, 45. Brayley was facing ongoing questions about the death of his wife. Two other female friends of his had also died.[23][24][25] Nitschke recounts that Brayley rebuffed suggestions to seek counselling,[26] and had already obtained the suicide drug, Nembutal.[27] Although Nitschke was unaware of the investigation at the time, he now believes that Brayley, whom he described as a "serial killer", had made a rational decision to commit suicide rather than face long imprisonment.[27] Nitschke stated that he does not believe he could have changed Brayley's mind, that Brayley was not his patient, that Brayley was not depressed and did not seek or want Nitschke's advice.[28] The chairman of Beyondblue, Jeff Kennett, said Nitschke should have referred the man to a psychologist or psychiatrist.[29]
    On 23 July 2014, as a consequence of the Brayley case, the Medical Board of Australia (MBA) voted to use emergency powers to suspend his practitioner's licence immediately, on the grounds that he presents "a serious risk to public health and safety". Nitschke said he would appeal the suspension, which he claimed was politically motivated, and that the Board "made it clear that what they really object to is the way I think. It's ideas they object to — namely, my belief that people should have a right to suicide, is something they think is contrary to medical practice."[30] The MBA later clarified that the suspension was an interim measure pending the outcome of an inquiry.[31]

    So Brayley, who is an allegedly potential serial killer, apparently committed suicide with the drug Nembutal (that he already had in his possession before even meeting with Dr Nitschke) rather than face long-term imprisonment. Brayley also allegedly approached Nitschke after a workshop and because Nitschke was apparently unaware of Brayley's background and also because Nitschke did not refer him to a psychologist or psychiatrist, even though Brayley was not his patient and even though he allegedly rebuffed Nitschke suggestions to seek counselling, Dr Nitschke is now suspended from practicing as a doctor pending the outcome of the inquiry. 

    Seems a bit harsh to me. Next thing goverment authorities could be suspending accredited counsellors and/or their accredited supervisors on crisis lines for not intervening and calling police and ambulances to save the lives of potentially suicidal people who have called their crisis line but who have then refused referrals to mental health professionals and who have also said that they have a plan to commit suicide and the means to commit suicide one day in the future but not necessarily now. Is that really such a different scenario?

    My article about researchers identifying a potential blue green algae cause & L-Serine treatment for Lou Gehrig's ALS, MND, Parkinsons & Alzheimers is at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine

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