Euthanasia: Everyone Has the Right to Die

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One of the reasons I picked Euthanasia is a subject that I am unfamiliar with. I want to learn both sides of the argument and how people from each side thought about it. So in this paper I will talk about both sides of the argument, the people on each side, and the different types of Euthanasia. The subject of Euthanasia is a heated battle, in which lines have been drawn between warring social, religious and political groups. Many people want this controversial institution erased from the volumes of lawful medicine, but others say that we should be able to choose our fates in extreme cases. Neither the lawmakers of the country nor the people have been able to find a solution to this debate without causing an intense opposition, and the possibility for an end to this war of ethics seems very far in the distance. A definition of euthanasia is, “a painless killing, especially to end a painful and incurable disease; mercy killing (World Book, p. 733). This intentional termination of life by another is at the request of the person who dies, but like so many other religious, social and political terms, euthanasia has many meanings. Passive euthanasia is defined as, the hastening of death of a person by withdrawing some type of support and letting nature take its course, examples of this are, removing life support systems, stopping medical procedures, stopping food and water, not delivering CPR and letting the patient’s heart stop. The most common form of passive euthanasia is to give a person large doses of morphine to control pain, despite the likely hood that the pain killer would suppress respiration, thus causing death earlier than normal, passive euthanasia is usually used on patients who are terminally ill, suffering greatly, or in a persistent vegetative state (Robinson, p. 1). There are three types of euthanasia that are illegal or very close to illegal even in places where euthanasia is permitted. The first is Physician assisted suicide. Physician assisted suicide is when a doctor supplies information and/or means of committing suicide to a person, so that they can terminate their life easily. This type of assistance has come to the public’s eye as the media has covered the actions of Dr. Jack Kavorkian. Dr. Kavorkian has assisted in the deaths of hundreds of patients. Another form of euthanasia used by Kavorkian is active euthanasia, this involves causing death through direct action, in response to a patient’s request; basically a mercy killing.

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