THE Fijian government is considering a proposal to open a euthanasia clinic where seriously ill Australians and others could go to die.
Australian euthanasia advocate Dr Philip Nitschke has proposed a “hastened death service” in Nadi which would operate like the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland, where about 1000 foreigners have died since 1998.
While a handful of European countries and two US states have legalised euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide, the Dignitas clinic is the only one in the world that allows foreigners to use its service.
In a proposal sent to Fiji’s Attorney-General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum last year, Dr Nitschke said the developing country could generate “considerable income” from a similar clinic with demand expected to come from people in Australia, New Zealand, Asia and India who do not have access to physician-assisted suicide.
“As of 2011, only 6 Australians and no New Zealanders have travelled to use the Dignitas service. Given the logistical problems faced by those in the Asia Pacific travelling to Europe when seriously ill, Exit would suggest that a mirror clinic is well warranted in this region of the world,” wrote Dr Nitschke, the head of Exit International.
He said given Dignitas charged about $12,000 for its service and funerals could cost tens of thousands of dollars, the Fijian government could make money from government taxes on the service, local burial services and “ongoing tourism associated with remembrance of the loved one”.
Dr Nitschke said only seriously ill patients who are found by a psychiatrist to be of sound mind would be approved to use the service. If people met these criteria, a two-day cooling off period would apply before they could take lethal drugs under medical supervision.