To Be or Not to Be-Euthanasia

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To be or not to be


Prince Hamlet left a question for us----“To be or not to be”. Ultimately, no doubt everybody will die. How to face this problem under a considerable particular situation, such as a person has a serious illness (e.g. cancer, AIDS, SARS, etc.), and has no possibility to live anymore under the present medical conditions. In this report, I would like to write about euthanasia which not only do relate to medicine, but also about ethics. As to why I have chosen such a hard topic, because I was moved by a set of photographs taken by Renée C. Byer(The Sacramento Bee) who won 2007 Pulizer Prizes. She took a set of pictures of a single mother and her young son as the mother finally chose “euthanasia” to end her son’s life. The body could be speared in to two parts. Firstly let’s be clear on the meaning of euthanasia. In the second part, I will write about some arguments among euthanasia.


What’s the meaning of euthanasia?

In the medical history, euthanasia has difficult and multiple meanings. One definition in oxford English dictionary is: physician produced or physician induced death. In Greek term euthanatos: “eu” means “good”, and “thanatos” means “death”. Also during the Greek times, the euthanasia was without any medicine duty, only a decision made for getting out from burden and dying peacefully and easily. Until the 17th century, Francis bacon (1561-1626) firstly had given a medical definition to euthanasia. He considered the practice of medicine also should include knowledge and skill which enable doctors to help patients to die easily and naturally. (P1421, Encyclopedia of bioethics).

Self-determination on so important a decision as when and in what ways one’s life comes to and end or is sustained by medical treatment is of particular importance. (P 1412 encyclopedia of bioethics 3rd edition “life-sustaining treatment and euthanasia” chapter)

When forgoing life-sustaining treatment is seriously in...
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