It is important to differentiate between the various terms used in discussing euthanasia. Passive Euthanasia refers to removing some form of life support which allows nature to take its course. Forms of life support include: removing life support machines, stopping medical procedures and medications, stopping food and water, or not delivering cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Active Euthanasia refers to causing the death of a person through a direct action, in response to a request from the person. Physician Assisted Suicide refers to a physician supplying information and/or the means of committing suicide to a person, so that he/she can easily end his/her own life.
The applied ethical issue of euthanasia, or mercy killing, concerns whether it is morally permissible for a third party, such as a physician, to end the life of a terminally ill patient who is in intense pain. The word euthanasia comes from the Greek words eu (‘well’) and thanatos (‘death’). It means a painless and gentle death. But in modern usage, it has come to imply that someone’s life is ended for compassionate reasons by some passive or active steps taken by another person. The euthanasia controversy is part of a larger issue concerning the right to die.
Active euthanasia is taking the person’s life by either giving him/her wrong medication or even a wrong dose of medication. On the other hand, passive euthanasia is putting someone to death by terminating the medical devices such as respirators that enables him/her to be alive . It is also important to understand what is not considered as euthanasia. Cutting food and drink from
Euthanasia is the practice of ending an individual's life in order to relieve them from an incurable disease or unbearable suffering. The term euthanasia is derived from the Greek word for "good death" and originally referred to as “intentional killing” ( Patelarou, Vardavas, Fioraki, Alegakis, Dafermou, & Ntzilepi, 2009). Euthanasia is a controversial topic which has raised a great deal of debate globally. Although euthanasia has received great exposure in the professional media, there are some sticky points that lack clarity and need to be addressed. Euthanasia is a divisive topic, and different interpretations of its meaning, depend on whether the person supports it or not.
“Practical Issues in Physicians-Assisted Suicide.” Annals of Internal Medicine. January 15, 1997. www.acponline.org/journals/annals/15jan97/pipas.htm. (4/13/01). Humphry, Derek. “Inventions enabling self-deliverance from terminal illness.” Euthanasia Research and Guidance Organization.
Is any form of death good? All of these questions can be answered differently by each person. Today euthanasia is generally taken to mean that act which a health care professional carries out to help his patient achieve a good death. The terms euthanasia and assisted suicide are sometimes used interchangeably, but they differ. In the assisted suicide, a doctor prescribes a lethal dose of medication, making the means of death available but not participating in it.
“Even a passive withholding of help to prevent death has frequently been severely punished. Euthanasia, however, occurs secretly in all societies, including those in which it is held to be immoral and illegal.” There are two main types of euthanasia, passive and active. Passive euthanasia is the deliberate disconnection of life support equipment, or cessation of any life-sustaining medical procedure, permitting the natural death of the patient. Active euthanasia is deliberate action to end the life of a dying patient to avoid further suffering; there are two types of active euthanasia. Active voluntary euthanasia is when a lethal injection is giving by a doctor into a dying patient to end life by request of the sufferer.
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