Dignitas founder Ludwig Minelli in front of the clinic
Dignitas assisted suicide clinic, Pfaffikon, Zurich, Switzerland - 27 Jan 2010
CHOOSING WHEN AND WHERE TO DIE AT DIGNITAS
With its flowered duvet the single bed stands next to a small window overlooking a garden.
While it may look like any other bed in any other room it has actually held dozens of people as they've drawn their final breathe.
For this plainly decorated room with its cheery bedspread is one of the 'dying' rooms at the Dignitas assisted suicide clinic in Switzerland.
The centre, which is located in the suburb of Pfaffikon in Zurich, was established in 1998 by 77-year-old ex-human rights lawyer Ludwig Minelli.
During its years in existence thousands of people from 61 different countries have registered with the organisation for a fee of 200 Swiss francs (GBP 118).
Most of these do not plan to commit suicide but are merely seeking insurance in case their illness becomes intolerable.
As such they then pay an annual charge of 86 Swiss francs (GBP 50).
A charge of 3,000 Swiss francs (GBP 1,770) is issued if the member decides to progress their application and take their life.
As part of legal requirements, a pink file is then created and one of Dignitas' six doctors must decide if they will prescribe the lethal barbiturates required.
By the time the member reaches the clinic in Pfaffikon the total cost they will have accrued is around 10,500 Swiss francs (GBP 6,200).
So far 135 Brits, including 27 last year, have died at the clinic after ingesting a lethal dose of barbiturate - sucking on a chocolate to mask the taste.
In fact Brits make up 14% of Dignitas' membership - the second highest after Germany, which forms 59%.
The vast majority of people who choose to die at the clinic are terminally ill or have incurable progressive diseases.
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