Let's Talk About Dying (Up Front) (Final Exit Network) - The Humanist

Let's Talk About Dying (Up Front) (Final Exit Network)

By The Humanist

  • Release Date: 2009-05-01
  • Genre: Reference
1.5 Score: 1.5 (From 7 Ratings)


ON FEBRUARY 25, 2009, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation arrested four members of an alleged "assisted suicide ring" called the Final Exit Network. The GBI conducted an undercover operation for nearly a year, eventually carrying out searches of fourteen sites in nine different states. For a $50 annual membership fee, the Final Exit Network provides its three thousand members instructions on how to commit suicide. Their tools of choice: the "exit bag" a plastic hood placed over the head and tied around the neck, and a tank of helium to breathe under the hood. In some cases Final Exit will also provide an "exit guide" who attends the suicide to provide comfort and counsel (and who removes the mask and tank from the scene). One of the four arrested is an eighty-one-year-old anesthesiologist from Baltimore, Maryland, who is a co-founder of the group, Dr. Lawrence Egbert. All four are now free on bond. In 1994, Georgia made it a crime to "actively assist another person" in ending his or her life. Georgia courts likely will work in the coming months to figure out what "actively assist" means. In the 1990s, Michigan courts on several occasions labored through a similar process with their more famous assisted-suicide doctor, Jack Kevorkian. Far from the private, secretive approach of the Final Exit Network, Kevorkian was flamboyant and public. On June 6, 1990, the world met the man known as Dr. Death; a New York Times headline that day read, "Doctor Tells of First Death Using His Suicide Device." By 1998 the New York Times had written 471 stories about Kervorkian and his alleged "assisting" in more than 130 suicides.