Wednesday, July 27, 2005

"Final Exit" the DIY book

Which method of rational suicide

I was greatly impressed by the honesty and good taste of the documentary 'The Self-Made Man" on P O V on PBS TV on July 26. (It has still to be shown on some PBS stations.)
But I was saddened to see the violent way -- a gun -- that Bob Stern used. And in full view by his son.
True, it is the most popular method of suicide by American men. But there are other, non-violent, bloodless ways of rational suicide which are (sorry about the plug) detailed in my book 'Final Exit' which, since l991, has helped thousands of suffering people end their lives peacefully, painlessly, and in the the presence of their loved ones.
With a gun, it cannot be done in the presence of others, and some unlucky person has to clear up the mess. With lethal drugs or helium gas as the escape route it is much more aesthetic and acceptable.
Nevertheless, Bob Stern had the undoubted moral right to bring his life to an end in the manner of his own choosing, though it would not be mine. A most important film about 'choice'.
-----------Derek Humphry
Founder of the original Hemlock Society 1980 (dissolved 2003). Author of 'Final Exit' book, sold worldwide by Random House in paperback.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Was this a rational suicide?

25 July 2005
Today's 'San Francisco Chronicle' carries a long article about the suicide of Bob Stern, which is to be shown on film on Tuesday evening (PBS TV, Point of View) throughout north America.

Several different points of view on rational suicide are reported in the article, including mine, which is correctly quoted as

"Derek Humphry, author of "Final Exit" and founder of the Hemlock Society,
was unequivocal when asked, is your life your own to terminate?

"My view is that life is a personal responsibility. If you feel you have reasons to take your life, so be it."

When Bob Stern's case was described to him, Humphry expressed concern about the means -- firearm -- but not the motive.

"Elderly suicidal people recognize that life has run its course and if that's what the person wants,'' Humphry said, that is the individual's choice. "Don't shock or hurt your family, of course, which is why I recommend lethal drug dosages or helium."

Humphry, though, believes in having safeguards in place, as in Oregon's Death With Dignity law, which is now being challenged before the U.S. Supreme Court. Oregon requires that two doctors verify the patient isn't depressed. "

Read the whole Chronicle article, with pictures, at


Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Euthanasia Self-Deliverance Right-to-Die Final Exit Hemlock Society Founder Weblog

Euthanasia Self-Deliverance Right-to-Die Final Exit Hemlock Society Founder Weblog


On Tuesday evening,(26 July) on PBS TV, watch P O V (Point of View) on rational suicide. See local listings throughout North America for show times. A California man explains why he is about to end his life, which he then does.

For an expert opinion on rational suicide, contact Derek Humphry, 541-998-3285 or email

Humphry founded the Hemlock Society in l980 and wrote the bestselling book 'Final Exit', now in its 3rd edition. Today he is president of the Euthanasia Research & Guidance Organization (ERGO)

Friday, July 01, 2005

Doctors changing euthanasia views

The date in the previous blog concerning doctors and euthanasia
should be June 29, and not July 29. D H

Doctors changing euthanasia views

The decision of the British Medical Association on July 29 in future to remain neutral on issues of voluntary euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide has considerable significance.

So often in the past when law reform on these two issues was put forward, politicians tellingly pointed to the fact that the official bodies of the medical professions were opposed. It was a huge stumbling block.

The American Medical Association, and the same organizations in Canada and Australia, remain opposed to hastened death by choice. But now the British ones have broken the barrier, hopefully doctors' groups in other countries will follow suit.

The reason why the Dutch, Belgian and Swiss people have had lawful physician-assisted death is that, from the start, the medical groups in those countries co-operated rather than blindly opposed.

There is currently an assisted suicide Bill before the London Parliament which will have a far better chance of passing now that UK physicians have withdrawn their opposition.

---------------Derek Humphry, 1 July 05
President, ERGO.