For Dignitas, describe their aim and political agenda. Also consider how this group may influence science, either positively or negatively?

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pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Dignitas is a group in Switzerland that is dedicated to providing assistance in dying to people with incurable diseases.  This group has been in the news recently as people form Great Britain have traveled to Switzerland to commit suicide with the help of Dignitas.  To the extent that they have a political agenda, it is to push governments to allow assisted suicide (it is illegal, in the UK, for example, to help someone travel to Switzerland to kill themselves).

The only real impact this group could have on science is to bring it more into conflict with, esepcially, groups who hold traditional religious values.  Some people might associate Dignitas in their minds with scientists in general and might be more suspicious of scientists because of Dignitas's efforts.

mkcapen1's profile pic

mkcapen1 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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The Dignitas that I am familiar with operates out of Switzerland and is dedicated to providing a comforting death to person's with terminal illness and/or severe physical and mental disabilities.  Their mantra is that suicide monitored by a team of doctors and nurses should be available as a decision for people who can not live a quality life.  The name of the agency stems from the Roman word meaning "dignity."  Death with dignity is the service that is provided by a team of professionals. 

The Dignitis center operates in Zurich, Swizerland and has clientele from all over the world.  Assisted suicide is legal in Switzerland.   The program has pre-established procedures and does not treat severely depressed people who want to die so they arrive at the door of the agency.  The procedure involves medical statements and diagnosis, and the person who wishes to die is the only one who can administer the lethal dose.  Two witnesses who will observe the client's action must be present and a fee for their service is paid by the client.

To decide if the group influences science positively or negatively would rely on a person's belief system.  There has been controversy that by allowing people to take their own lives, that it can throw off the universal balance and that it prevents doctors to study the people who are ill which could help prevent further people from getting the same disease. 

Minelli's believes the right to die is a choice that each human should be allowed to make and as such is a human right.  Science becomes in conflict with the morals of a society and the implications of allowing people to end their own lives.

The groups primary political agenda is to enable humans to have a human right to die at their own choice in time and with dignity.

Science evolves around the development of medications and research but doctors take a Hippocratic Oath to never cause harm and save lives.  It is a fine line between what is harm and what is morally acceptable.


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