Euthanasia is defined as; the intentional killing by act or omission of a dependent human being for his or her alleged benefit. (The key word here is "intentional". If death is not intended, it is not an act of euthanasia)
Voluntary euthanasia: When the person who is killed has requested to be killed.
Non-voluntary: When the person who is killed made no request and gave no consent.
Involuntary euthanasia: When the person who is killed made an expressed wish to the contrary.
Assisted suicide: Someone provides an individual with the information, guidance, and means to take his or her own life with the intention that they will be used for this purpose. When it is a doctor who helps another a person to kill them self it is called "physician assisted suicide."
Euthanasia By Action: Intentionally causing a person's death by performing an action such as by giving a lethal injection.
Euthanasia By Omission: Intentionally causing death by not providing necessary and ordinary (usual and customary) care or food and water.
Euthanasia can be traced back as far back as the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations. It was sometimes allowed in these civilizations to help others die. Voluntary euthanasia was approved in these ancient societies. Today, the practice of euthanasia causes great controversy, so much so that it has been legalised in a few countries and remains illegal in the majority. Groups have been formed for and against euthanasia such as Not Dead yet, International Anti-Euthanasia Task Force, Cure and the World Federation of Doctors Who Respect Human Life.
I will begin by listing the arguments against euthanasia
1. Choosing the time and place of a person's death is nature's decision, it has already been decided. In most major religions of the world, people believe that God should decide the time and place of your death and nobody else should ever interfere with your death. This argument suggests that we should never intervene in any life-threatening situation. If a person is having a heart attack, should we just stand by and watch them die? If we were to seek medical attention in order to save his life, we would be interfering with natures will for that person to die. This argument contains nothing that can be rationally argued against because it does not tell us when it is ok to interfere with nature's decisions. If we were never to interfere with nature then there would be no need to have doctors and hospitals.
2. People who request euthanasia may be requesting it because they are depressed and they may change their minds. I believe that psychological evaluation will detect the mental condition of a patient, and depression, if it exists, can be treated. Patients can be given counselling to determine if their decision is what they truly want. We must determine whether or not patients should be able to be in control of their own lives. If a person is depressed and wants to die, it seems a lot easier for the doctor to encourage this to make the patient feel better and to save his time and the hospital's money and resources, rather than fight for this patient to change their mind. A good doctor should never encourage death; doctors are there to fight for people and to help people, not to kill them off because it seems the easier option.
3. Euthanasia is a violation of medical ethics. The Medical Association has consistently condemned euthanasia as an unethical practice. Today, attitudes may be changing. Recent surveys indicate that 54% of doctors in Great Britain favour euthanasia in extreme cases. This is a difficult and unfair question to ask doctors because what exactly is 'extreme'? Extreme could mean when someone has cancer, is not in pain, and will never get better to one person, but to another person it could mean something completely different.
4. Euthanasia weakens the trust relationship between the doctor and the patient. We expect doctors to heal and save lives, not to kill. If you...
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