DR DEATH SUICIDE FILM BEING SHOWN IN SCHOOLS; Euthanasia Fanatic Gives a Workshop on How to Kill Yourself in Educational Video for 14-Year-Olds
Byline: Tom Kelly and Nick Fagge
PUPILS are being taught about euthanasia with a video featuring a notorious assisted suicide campaigner nicknamed Dr Death.
Dr Philip Nitschke is shown demonstrating his machine that delivers lethal injections in the film, which is already being shown to pupils as young as 14 across the country.
There is also footage of him giving workshops on assisted suicide methods, which church leaders have criticised as an 'invitation to commit suicide'.
The decision to include Dr Nitschke in the video was condemned by campaigners both for and against assisted dying, and a psychologist warned that it could encourage vulnerable teenagers to end their lives.
The video is being shown as the BBC stands accused of being 'a cheerleader for assisted suicide' after filming a man killing himself at the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland. Writer Sir Terry Pratchett, an outspoken advocate of euthanasia, presents the documentary which is due to be broadcast on BBC2 this summer.
Dr Nitschke was held up for nine hours by immigration officials at Heathrow when he arrived to give his first UK suicide workshops in Bournemouth two years ago.
At his workshops he demonstrates chilling suicide methods including a helium-filled 'exit bag' which is placed over the head, Mexican drugs, morphine and 'DIY Peaceful Pills'. He has co-written a book detailing eight ways in which terminally ill people can kill themselves, including using veterinary drugs.
The 20-minute film is made by Bristol-based Classroom Video, which supplies educational films to almost every UK school. It is being shown to pupils aged 14 to 18, mainly those studying GCSE philosophy which includes euthanasia on the curriculum.
In it Michael Irwin, a former doctor and euthanasia campaigner, explains why he was 'very pleased' to help at least nine people to kill themselves at the Dignitas clinic. He was struck off the medical register six years ago for attempting to help a suicide.
In what the makers say is a balanced treatment of the issue, the video includes many comments from opponents of euthanasia. There is a contribution from antieuthanasia group Care Not Killing and an impassioned plea against assisted suicide by Baroness Campbell.
Producer and director Thomasina Gibson said: 'If you are going to treat teenagers as young adults you have to give them all sides of the argument and let them debate it and make their own minds up. …