Philip Nitschke is, of the nine Dr Deaths you can find on Wikipedia, the only one still living, medically licensed or unincarcerated. This alone puts him in the number one spot of euthanasia practitioners in the world, or would do if he were allowed to practise.
Back in the nineties, Nitschke was able to euthanise terminally ill patients legally in Australia’s Northern Territories, using his Deliverance Machine. Since the repeal of that state’s law, he has been fighting a battle to promote the idea of dignity in dying through speaking tours, lectures and now this show.
This show is both a lecture on the difficulties and methods of his profession, a how to guide—with caveats—as well as an engaging personal story of a man who went from hypochondriac park ranger to doctor without a real plan, and found his vocation far from the traditional ideas of the healing profession.
Whatever your view on the subject, the complications and unfairness created by legal and medical bodies, tied to the stories of his patients, will at least blow away and simplistic and binary ideas you might have about suicide and assisted suicide.
Upsetting as the subject might be, Nitschke delivers it with dry dark very Australian humour. There’s little doubt you’ll never look at your vet the same way again.
This is a wonderful show, both dark and illuminating. It’s thought provoking, engaging and funny, and despite its subject matter, manages to be hugely life affirming.