1935 Formation of a voluntary euthanasia society in
England (later known as "Exit" or "The Voluntary Euthanasia Society") by
Lord Moynihan & Dr Killick Millard.
1936 King George V receives euthanasia from Lord Dawson
Voluntary Euthanasia Bill presented to the House of Lords:
1969 Voluntary Euthanasia Bill debated again in the
Lords and again rejected.
The term "living will" is coined by Luis Kutner to describe
an advance refusal of medical treatment.
1973 Voluntary Euthanasia societies formed in the
1974 Dr George Mair publishes "Confessions of a Surgeon"
giving details of voluntary euthanasia practised in a hospital.
1976 Voluntary Euthanasia societies formed in Japan
and Germany. 1st international conference of voluntary euthanasia societies,
1977 Dutch Medical Council officially accepts V.E.
1978 Derek Humphry's "Jean's Way" published in London,
telling how his wife had made a pact with him to end her own life.
1979 British V.E. Society votes to publish a guide
to self-deliverance. Membership quadruples. Publication delayed until 1981
by legal and other obstacles, and the book subsequently withdrawn after
further legal problems.
1980 Exit (known as Scottish Exit and later as VESS)
assumes independence under the auspices of George Mair and Sheila Little,
and publishes "How to Die With Dignity" - the first suicide guide to be
published in the world.
Official formation of the World Federation of Right-to-Die
1981 Nicholas Reed, of the English V.E. Society, is
sentenced to prison for assisting suicides.
A Rotterdam court states conditions under which aiding suicide
and administering Voluntary Euthanasia will not lead to prosecution in
1983 Legal worries over publication of the English
Society's guide to self-deliverance continue. The Attorney General unsuccessfully
seeks an injunction to prevent distribution.
1984 The Supreme Court of the Netherlands declares
that V.E. is acceptable subject to ten clearly defined conditions.
1985 Lord Jenkins presents a Bill to the Lords to
repeal a relevant clause of the English Suicide Act: defeated.
1990 Roland Boyes MP presents a Bill to Parliament
for euthanasia: defeated.
1991 US Congress passes the "Patient Self-Determination
Act", compelling hospitals to respect Living Wills.
Derek Humphry's book on self-deliverance, "Final Exit," tops
an American best-seller list for several weeks.
Washington State Initiative Bill legalising voluntary euthanasia
1992 Dr Cox is tried for administering euthanasia
to Mrs Boyes and receives a suspended sentence.
The British Medical Association declares its support for
1993 The Law Lords allow the feeding tube of Tony
Bland, who is in persistent vegetative state, to be removed.
Sue Rodriguez, a young woman with Lou Gehrig's disease, seeks
permission from the Supreme Court of Canada for assistance to die, and
is refused by a narrow majority.
Formation of the International Drugs Consensus Working Party
and publication by VESS of "Departing
Drugs," the first scientifically researched international self-deliverance
Formation of the House of Lords Select Committee to investigate
euthanasia and living wills.
1994 First international collection of living wills
published (by VESS).
The Council of the British Medical Association declares support
(in principle) for legislation regulating living wills.
Oregon USA passes a law to allow doctors to prescribe lethal
drugs, but an injunction prevents it from taking effect.
1995 The British Medical Association produce a Code
of Practice on Living Wills.
The Law Commission propose legislation covering living wills
and health care proxies.
VESS distributes a radical new living
will form after much research, anticipating the BMA guidelines, and
also introduces the values history document to the UK.
The Irish Supreme Court decides that the feeding tube may
be removed from a woman who has lain in a vegetative state for over 20
years, so that she may die.
Northern Territory, Australia, passes the first law in the
world to allow active voluntary euthanasia, allowing doctors to administer
a lethal injection. The law is linked to improvement of palliative care
and will takes some months before it is fully operational.
1996 The Nine Circuit Court of Appeal in the United
States over-rules earlier judgements and upholds the constitutionality
of assisted suicide, and also Oregon's Death With Dignity law on assisted
suicide. The Second Circuit also comes out in support of assisted suicide.
The Scottish Courts decide, in Scotland's first "right-to-die"
case, that Mrs
Johnstone, who has been in a coma for four years, may have her feeding
tube removed to allow her her to die.
Completion of "Sometimes
a Small Victory" - A year long intensive study by Glasgow Univerity's
Institute of Law & Ethics in Medicine on the feasibility of legal reform
on physician assisted suicide. Includes a draft bill (legislative template).
Court of America rule that laws against physician assisted suicide
are not unconstitutional.
Brady assists in the suicide of his brother James, pleading guilty
to a charge of culpable homicide. Admonished by the Scottish Courts and
Territory law is overturned.
introduces limited euthanasia.
1998 The Oregon Death With Dignity Act goes into effect
allowing people to erecive assisted suicide from physicians.
1999 Dr Jack Kevorkian sentenced to 10-25 years imprisonment
for the murder of Thomas Youk after showing his video of death by lethal
injection on national television.
2000 VESS (Voluntary Euthanasia Society of Scotland)
changes its name to Exit again.
2001 EXIT adopts the Carver Model of Policy Governance,
turning its back on the internal divisions that dog so many voluntary organisations.
The membership expels hardline troublemakers so Exit can get on with its primary mission
to provide self-deliverance information to all who need it.
2002 Workshops on self-deliverance under way.
2004 Exit develops full-day self-deliverance workshops around the UK.
2007 After much research, EXIT publishes a new self-deliverance manual,Five Last Acts, leading the field in new and existing techniques.
Phasing in of UK laws on living wills.
2009 Clarification from the Crown Prosecutor (England and Wales) on
when persons are likely or not likely to be prosecuted for nominally assisting a suicide
(for instance, by accompanying someone to Switzerland).
2009 In addition to UK-wide self-deliverance workshops, EXIT introduces
two-day 'mega' workshops.
2010 Expanded edition of Five Last acts published, available from Amazon.
2013 The Exit Path is released, a 750-page edition of Five Last Acts, with latest analysis and comparisons.