EU Trials World-First Self-Termination Program
NEWS 10/06/2039 9:38 PM ET
EU Trials World-First Self-Termination Program
Anthony Vargas

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Doctors can quickly dispense treatment with a minimum of stress to the patient.
The European Union is hailing the success of its Self-Care Termination program, with figures released today showing more than 50,000 Europeans had self-terminated in the last year.

The program's director, Prof. Scolaio Pellegrino reported today to the European Parliament Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety on behalf of the Working Party For Public Self-Care Termination.

He provided data confirming that the primary goals of the program have been exceeded in the last twelve months.

"When the Working Party was formed last year, we desired [an outcome] that if 25,000 Europeans wanted to end their lives with dignity, then we would aim for that," said Prof. Pellegrino, addressing the media earlier today.

The official report of the Working Party details 51,996 successful implementations of the treatment.

In January last year, the EU found broad levels of dissatisfaction among Europeans concerning access to assisted-ending treatments. While some EU countries have expanded access, others have remained resolute in only offering assisted-ending under the most extreme circumstances, such as a terminal illness.

"We found that there was a lot of people who wished very seriously, to have their suffering relieved, without having to run through government regulation" added Prof. Pellegrino.

The provisional nature of the program was part of the Impact Assessment authorized by the European Commission in order to validate the demand for assisted-ending among EU citizens and determine the suitability of the treatment. EU countries were invited to participate in the world first program.

The Working Party comprises experts in medicine, epidemiology, psychiatry and public health. After two months of debate and research, it decided in January that the treatment would consist of a solution administered by patch, similar to the CliniCare post-birth abortion treatment available in the US.

When asked about the humaneness of the protocol, Prof. Pellegrino replied, "It is completely compassionate, it is painless and very, very quick."

Eight countries signed on to participate: The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Austria, Sweden, and Ireland. 240,000 doctors were each provided 10 kits, with more available on request.

Treatment is administered by a primary care physician, who - under the guidelines laid out by the Working Party - is not obligated to require a reason from the patient requesting treatment. Any patient over 18 who verbally requests treatment and provides a signature is eligible.

Doctors are authorized to provide a patch and apply a medical barcode. The patch and barcode are linked to prevent the patch from being used on an individual other than the patient.

The patch used by the EU, as with the US CliniCare patch, contains a computer chip capable of scanning for the barcode. When pressed to the skin, the patch will only release the treatment upon a successful scan. Patients can take the patch home to apply at a time and place of their choosing and have seven days before the patch degrades.

Advocates praised the independence and dignity the treatment affords people who are suffering. Patients may dispose of the patch if they change their mind before applying the patch.

The Working Party reported a 97.6% implementation rate among patients who took the patch home.

Critics have called the program a step toward enforced euthanasia, and have called for the program to be discontinued. However, legislation to introduce the treatment as a permanent option is being considered by the European Commission.
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