Australian "Dr. Death" Creates New "Death Machine"

By Steve Jordahl

Canberra, Australia -- The Australian version of Jack Kevorkian has developed his own "death machine."

Australia's "doctor of death," Philip Nitschke, has developed a new death machine. Unlike other devices that need to be administered by a doctor, this one is simple enough to operate alone. The device pumps pure carbon monoxide into a mask, causing asphyxiation in a matter of minutes.

Wendy Wright, senior policy director of Concerned Women for America, said it is the latest gadget from a man looking for publicity.

"He likes to promote himself by promoting death," Wright said.

The "death machine" can also pump pure oxygen, a feature Nitschke cynically added to "frustrate any attempts at legislative control." Wright said that's particularly evil.

"His new device is not even being marketed to people who are in pain or who are terminally ill," Wright said. "He claims it would only be available for people who have been members of his club for a year."

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, almost 10 percent of the population suffers from clinical depression. Dr. John Kilner, president of the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity, said that makes Nitschke's machine all the more sinister.

"Particularly for those who have genuine depression, giving these kind of tools and gadgets is quite dangerous," Kilner said.

Though advocates of assisted suicide often refer to it as "death with dignity," Kilner said that is a misnomer.

"To throw away the gift of life because it's not quite the brand we wanted, is really to lose our dignity, not to preserve it," Kilner said.

The Hemlock Society -- the world's premier euthanasia advocate -- claims it doesn't know anything about Nitschke's machine, but he says it was built with their research funds. The device costs only $50.

Source: Focus on the Family' January 8, 2003, Australian "Dr. Death" Creates New "Death Machine" By Steve Jordahl, correspondent

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