Online suicide kits. WTF.

By Kyla Cook |Asst. News Editor|

Sharlotte Hydorn, a 91-year-old former school teacher, is being compared to Jack Kevorkian,

also known as “Dr. Death,” reports the Los Angeles Times. I think this woman is a nut.
Kevorkian was a physician, widely known for his controversial views such as wanting to perform experiments on death row prisoners. He was imprisoned in 1999 for performing assisted suicides.

He invented a suicide machine that gave people three consecutive doses of fluids: a saline solution was given first, then a painkiller and, finally, a dose of poison potassium chloride.

The people using this machine could even inject the poison themselves.

Kevorkian later upgraded to the “Mercitron” which delivered carbon monoxide through a gas mask.

Hydorn’s suicide kit is a bit different and more primitive.

As described in the Los Angeles Times, “In her butterfly-decorated boxes are clear plastic bags and medical grade tubing. A customer places the bag over his head, connects the tubing from the bag to a helium tank, turns the valve and breathes.”

Hydorn sells these kits over the Internet for a whopping $60 a pop plus shipping and handling (helium tank sold separately). Orders for this do-it-yourself kit have been placed all around the world.

After her device was found over the head of a 29-year-old man in Oregon, her sales doubled to 100 sold per month, reports the Los Angeles Times.

There is a difference between physician-assisted suicide and what this woman is doing.

Physician-assisted suicide does not pose a problem to me even though it is only permitted in Oregon and Washington.

A terminally ill person has a right to not suffer.

There are so many diseases in the world which don’t have a cure.

I believe a person should be able to choose the course of action for their own life, as long as they can still think logically.

Even though Hydorn argues this same point, her customers vary between age, and the severity of their condition, from terminally-ill and just being depressed.

The Los Angeles Times states that this woman sells her product without knowing the identity or circumstances of the customer which means that a big percentage of these customers could have been stopped from committing suicide.

Alan Berman, executive director of the American Association for Suicidology, a suicide-prevention organization said, “What if this was a young person masquerading as an adult? What if this was a person with a totally treatable psychological condition who was not otherwise given the opportunity to get treatment? She’s not evaluating who she is providing the product. Clearly, she’s doing no due diligence to defend her behavior as compassionate,” also reported the Los Angeles Times.

This is the exact reason why I think she is wrong.

However, Hydorn states she is only interested in helping people.

If she wanted to help people, she wouldn’t sell a plastic bag for $60.

Also, I understand that people will find ways to off themselves if they really wanted to, but it can be prevented through therapy. A person should not be advocating for the death of people when really, they know nothing about them.

It’s not likely that she’ll go to prison though, California doesn’t have the room.