Euthanasia-an Ethical Dilemma

Topics: Euthanasia, Death, Medical ethics Pages: 4 (930 words) Published: January 11, 2013
* From the Greek word “euthanatos”, which means ‘eu’ easy and ‘thanatos’ death= easy death * “Euthanasia” is a broad term for mercy killing—taking the life of a hopelessly ill or injured individual in order to end his or her suffering. * The act or practice of killing hopelessly sick or injured individuals (as persons or domestic animals) in a relatively painless way for reasons of mercy. * The act or practice of allowing a hopelessly sick or injured patient to die by taking less than complete medical measures to prolong life—called also mercy killing. * Legal systems consider it murder, though in many jurisdictions a physician may lawfully decide not to prolong the patient's life or may give drugs to relieve pain even if they shorten the patient's life.


Voluntary Euthanasia refers to the action taken by the physician and the patient, who both agree (with informed consent) to end the patient's life. Involuntary Euthanasia refers to a third party taking a patient's life without the informed consent of the patient. This is commonly practiced in veterinary medicine when animals are "put down" or "put to sleep." In modern medicine, it could conceivably be applied to the act of taking a terminally ill, suffering patient's life that has lost all mental capacity to make his/her own decisions.

Also Known As: physician-assisted death, physician-assisted suicide, mercy killing

Indirect- Providing treatment (usually to reduce pain) that has the foreseeable side effect of causing the patient to die sooner. The patient dies sooner as a side effect of giving a medical treatment given to relieve pain or improve end-of-life symptoms. Indirect or passive euthanasia are not prohibited in most countries, while direct or active euthanasia is prohibited; these are considered by some to be incorrect terms because they are not really types of euthanasia.

Passive- Involves withdrawing or withholding life-prolonging medical...
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