Euthanasia

This is a term which would not be known by many people. So today I am going to give you knowledge about what Euthanasia means.

Euthanasia is a Greek word which means “Good death”. It is a practice to intentionally end the life of a person to relieve that person from pain and suffering.

There are different euthanasia laws in each country. The British House of Lords Select Committee on Medical Ethics defines euthanasia as “a deliberate intervention undertaken with the express intention of ending a life, to relieve intractable suffering”. In the Netherlands and Belgium, euthanasia is understood as “termination of life by a doctor at the request of a patient”. The Dutch law however, does not use the term ‘euthanasia’ but includes it under the broader definition of “assisted suicide and termination of life on request”. 

So basically when a person is suffering from some kind of disease like paralyses which cannot be treated and when it is at the last stage like only the upper portion of the body above the neck is working and the other whole body is paralyzed, then Euthanasia comes into act. With the consent of the patient, the doctors or the committee handling it in different countries could end the life of that person to relieve him from pain.

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In a family when a person is suffering from any such disease and there is no cure to it, the situation becomes unbearable even for the family members to see the other in pain all the time. And even the patient himself feels painful to trouble the other members of family when he knows that there is no way to recover from it. At that time, with the consent of the patient, the doctors gives that person some kind of drug that would kill him in sleep without any kind of pain. This act is called Euthanasia. It is also known as Act of Mercy Killing.

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In some countries, the law has been passed and this act has become legal. Passive euthanasia (known as “pulling the plug”) is legal under some circumstances in many countries. Active euthanasia however is legal in only a handful of countries (e.g. Belgium, Canada, Switzerland).

Since March 2018passive euthanasia is legal in India under strict guidelines. Patients must consent through a living will, and must be either terminally ill or in a vegetative state.

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Some people get confused between the two words- Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide. But both the terms have different meanings.

Euthanasia: A doctor is allowed by law to end a person’s life by a painless means, as long as the patient and their family agree.

Assisted suicide: A doctor assists a patient to commit suicide if they request it.

Voluntary and involuntary euthanasia

Euthanasia can also be classed as voluntary or involuntary.

Voluntary euthanasia is conducted with consent. Voluntary euthanasia is currently legal in Belgium, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Switzerland, and the states of Oregon and Washington in the U.S.

Involuntary euthanasia is euthanasia is conducted without consent. The decision is made by another person, because the patient is unable to make the decision.

Passive and active euthanasia

There are two procedural classifications of euthanasia:

Passive euthanasia is when life-sustaining treatments are withheld.  If a doctor prescribes increasing doses of strong painkilling medications, such as opioids, this may eventually be toxic for the patient. Some may argue that this is passive euthanasia.

Others, however, would say this is not euthanasia, because there is no intention to take life.

Active euthanasia is when someone uses lethal substances or forces to end a patient’s life, whether by the patient or somebody else.

Active euthanasia is more controversial, and it is more likely to involve religious, moral, ethical, and compassionate arguments.

 

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