EUTHANASIA: A GLOBAL ISSUE
Euthanasia has acquired a number of different labels. For example, euthanasia can be voluntary or involuntary, passive or active. Passive voluntary euthanasia occurs when, in accord with a terminally ill patient's expressed wish, life-supports are removed and the patient is permitted to die "naturally" or "as a consequence of the disease." Some patients die immediately; others linger on for hours or days finally dying from dehydration and starvation. Involuntary euthanasia—that is the bringing about of a person's death without the consent of the person—is almost always treated as homicide, even when the act can be recognized as producing a "merciful death." Active voluntary euthanasia (often termed "aid-in-dying") refers to death caused, in response to the terminally ill patient's expressed will, through direct intervention by someone other than the patient. Death may be induced by the administration of lethal medications or by lethal injection. 5]
There is debate as to whether there is really any difference between active and passive euthanasia. In the minds of some, the removal of life-supports, or passive euthanasia, is to be differentiated from active euthanasia, which is defined as "doing something to terminate life." On the other hand, for many ethicists, "passive euthanasia" has become a "weasel term" serving only to deny responsibility and perhaps to exonerate the medical staff and the doctor from being accused of having "done" something to cause the patient's death.
Recently, the phrase "doctor-assisted-suicide" has been added to the euthanasia vocabulary. Acting in accord with the patient's wishes, a physician provides the terminally ill individual with lethal medication. The patient decides when to take the medication, so that the physician does not participate directly in the death. Of course, rational, but severely handicapped patients, such as those in the final stages of ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document