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Controversial inventor Dr Death says his ’suicide capsules’ will ask users three questions before death

Controversial inventor Dr Death says his ’suicide capsules’ will ask users three questions before death

The assisted dying pod is proving a very controversial invention.

Warning: Article mentions topics of suicide and euthanasia

Dr Philip Nitschke hasn't got the nickname 'Dr Death' for nothing.

The Australian euthanasia advocate has often made headlines for the controversial work he's been doing in the area of self-assisted dying.

In 1997 he founded Exit International, which describes itself as providing 'information and education about practical DIY end of life choices to rational adults (aged >50 years)'.

Dr Philip Nitschke ended his medical career in 2015.
David Mariuz / Stringer / Getty

Back in August, Nitschke told MailOnline the capsules for assistant dying he'd been developing were 'ready' to be used.

"We're talking to a number of people who are wanting to be the first to use it," he said.

Dubbed the Sarco Pod, Exit International said it is a capsule that can 'produce a rapid decrease in oxygen level, while maintaining a low CO2 level, (the conditions for a peaceful, even euphoric death)'.

Pro-life groups have criticized the 3D-printed pod for glamorizing suicide.

Nitschke told MailOnline the pods cost between $4,000 (£3,100) and $8,000 (£6,200), and were in the final stages of being prepared for use in Switzerland - where assisted dying is legal within certain criteria.

Nitschke explained to MailOnline that users would be asked three questions upon entering the machine: 'Who are you?', 'Where are you?' and 'Do you know what happens if you press the button?'

Nitschke has developed the Sarco Pod.
Exit International

"If they answer those questions verbally, the software then switches the power on so that the button can then be pressed," he said.

"And if they press the button they will die very quickly. When you climb into Sarco the oxygen level is 21% but after you press the button it takes 30 seconds for the oxygen to drop to less than one per cent."

According to MailOnline, you need to be a member of Exit International to use the Sarco Pod - which costs $100 ($78) to sign up to. Switzerland also has strict criteria around who is eligible for assisted death.

And as for the comparisons to Tesla billionaire Elon Musk?

"Obviously I don't have the resources behind me that Musk does – I wish I did," Nitschke said.

"I like many of the aspects of Musk's innovative approach to lateral use of technologies and I admire many of the things he does."

But he's not without his critics, with James Mildred, director of engagement at CARE, telling MailOnline: "We believe that suicide is a tragedy that good societies seek to prevent in every circumstance. There are ethical ways to help human beings that don't involve the destruction of life."

Here's a list of the leading mental health helplines and services that are just a call away in the UK:

Samaritans are there 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and will talk to you about anything that's bothering you. You can call 116 123 (free from any phone), email [email protected]_ or visit some branches in person. You can also call the Welsh Language Line on 0300 123 3011 from 7pm to 11pm every day.

The Mix take calls from under 25s on 0808 808 4994 from Sunday to Friday, 2pm to 11pm. You can request support by email using the form on The Mix website or using their crisis text messenger service.

Papyrus HOPELINEUK is there for under 35s struggling with suicidal feelings, or those who are concerned about a young person who might be struggling. You can call them on 0800 068 4141 on weekdays from 9am to 10pm, on weekends from 2pm to 10pm, and on bank holidays from 2pm to 10pm. You can also email [email protected]_ or text 07786 209 697.

The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) caters specifically to males on 0800 58 58 58 from 5pm to midnight every day. Alternatively, you can use their webchat service.

The Nightline website allows students to see if their university or college offers a night-time listening service. Nightline phone operators are all students too.

Switchboard is there for people who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender and can be reached on 0300 330 0630 from 10am to 10pm every day. You can also email here or use their webchat service. Phone operators all identify as LGBT+.

The Community Advice and Listening Line (C.A.L.L). is available for those who live in Wales and can be contacted on 0800 132 737, which is open 24/7. You can also text 'help' followed by a question to 81066.

Featured Image Credit: Exit International