Euthanasia

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Euthanasia

Euthanasia is one of the most controversial issues affecting all realms of society and needs to be closely examined. In order to delve deep enough into the issue, the religious, legal, cultural, ethical, medical, and spiritual ramifications of euthanasia from both proponents and opponents of euthanasia need to be explored. The following discussion of euthanasia will inform people about euthanasia and to help them draw their own conclusions.

I. Introduction

Euthanasia comes from the Greek and means "painless, happy death." Webster defines it as "an easy and painless death, or, an act or method of causing death painlessly so as to end suffering: advocated by some as a way to deal with victims of incurable disease." Yet one more group, the Euthanasia Society, defines euthanasia as "termination of human life by painless means for the purpose of ending severe physical suffering." What is euthanasia on a more intimate level? Some call euthanasia "mercy killing" an others call it murder. Euthanasia is one of the most controversial issues affecting all realms of society and needs to be closely examined. In order to delve deep enough into the issue, the religious, legal, cultural, ethical, medical, and spiritual ramifications of euthanasia from both proponents and opponents of euthanasia need to be explored. The following discussion of euthanasia will inform people about euthanasia and to help them draw their own conclusions.

What should people know about euthanasia before deciding how they view euthanasia? To clarify matters, there are two types of euthanasia, passive and active. Both have the end result of ending the life of a terminally ill person. Passive euthanasia can range from discontinuing life-sustaining medical treatment (such as removing patients who cannot breath on their own from a respirator) to giving pain medications such as morphine in amounts that have the side effect of hastening death (6). Active euthanasia is a direct act by a physician or other person that has the purpose of ending a life. It is often done by giving the patient a lethal chemical injection or IV drip or by inhaling a deadly gas (10).

Euthanasia is such a controversial topic because it brings forth questions about the morality of killing, the effectiveness of consent, the duties of physicians, and equity in the distribution of resources (1).

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