1) Active euthanasia occurs when a doctor or medical staff person administers a lethal dose of medication with the intention of killing the patient.
2) Assisted suicide occurs when a doctor or medical staff person prescribes a lethal amount of medication with the intent of helping a person commit suicide. The patient then takes the dose or turns the switch. In both active euthanasia and assisted suicide, death is induced before its time. Physicians and other medical caregivers have the obligation to maintain life, as sworn in the Hippocratic Oath which states: 'I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody if asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect'. The Hippocratic Oath is an oath stating the obligations and proper conduct of doctors, taken by those beginning medical practice. The Hippocratic physician rejects the view that the patient's choice for death can make killing him right. Helping a patient commit suicide directly disobeys the Oath. The official position of the Catholic Church in Rome remains that killing of a human being, even by an act of omission to eliminate suffering, violates divine law and offends the dignity of the human person. To sanction the taking of innocent human life is to contradict a primary purpose of law in an ordered society. A law or court decision allowing assisted suicide would demean the lives of vulnerable patients and expose them to exploitation by those who feel they are better off dead. Such a policy would corrupt the medical profession, whose ethical code calls on physicians to serve life and never to kill. Suicidal wishes among the terminally ill are no less due to treatable depression than the same wishes among the able-bodied. When their pain, depression and other problems are addressed, there is generally no more talk of suicide. Courtesy of U.S. Catholic Conference (#257) From a Christian moral perspective, it is only right to commit intentional homicide when you are in