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What is euthanasia?

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RELIGIOUS STUDIES GCSE Coursework 2 (a)i. What is euthanasia? The term euthanasia comes from the Greek language, eu (good) thanatos (death) and is best described as 'the act or practice of ending the life of an individual suffering from a terminal illness or an incurable disease who would rather take their life than endure a lifetime of suffering. It is normally done by lethal injection or the suspension of extraordinary medical treatment. It is making the choice about how and when death occurs'. Passive euthanasia normally takes place within a hospice in the care of qualified doctors. There are four types of euthanasia, two of which are illegal. Voluntary euthanasia is when the person asks to be killed but is not able to do it themselves. Involuntary euthanasia is when other people choose for the person to be allowed to die as the person cannot make the decision. Active euthanasia is when action is taken to end a life e.g. a lethal dose of drugs can be used. Passive euthanasia is when a person is taken off treatment although death consequently might be the result. (a)ii. Explain what Christian teachings might be used in a discussion about euthanasia. Christians often only have one view on euthanasia as in the bible it clearly states that killing is wrong in any form, "do not murder"(Exodus 20:13). They argue that it is wrong to take the life of another person whether voluntary or not. In biblical times, people did not have good medication and help for the terminally ill; nowadays they can have as much help as they need in order to live as long and as happy life as possible. Therefore, some people may argue that if we have facilities to keep the terminally ill alive and happy then why are we even considering the idea of euthanasia? Does the choice to kill someone mean that we are taking God's role - 'playing God'? ...read more.


Christopher's hospice which jump started the modern hospice movement. This was the first hospice linking expert pain and symptom control, compassionate care, teaching and clinical research. Dame Cicely Saunders recognised the inadequacy of the care of the dying that was offered in hospitals, "there is nothing more that can be done" was a popular statement used, one that Dame Cicely refused to accept. Throughout her time at St Christopher's she has always said "there is so much more to be done." She understood that a dying person is more than a patient with symptoms to be controlled. She combined excellent medical and nursing care with "holistic" support that recognised practical, emotional, social, and spiritual need. She saw the dying person and the family as the unit of care and developed bereavement services at St Christopher's Hospice to extend support beyond the death of the patient. The U.S was the first to have volunteer hospices and in 1971, Dame Cicely Sanders began to help to train doctors in the United States in hospice care. They quickly spread throughout the U.S and to the rest of the world. Medicare added hospice care as a benefit in 1983 which improved the capacity of local hospices to respond to the needs of patients. In 1993, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organisation instituted national standards of hospice care to insure that the quality of hospices kept high. Christians feel that hospices are a response to the pain and suffering that many people undergo for the last years of their life, or for most of their life. Most people find that when in pain from a disease or illness, they find it difficult to be joyful and content with their situation, they suffer in agony and distress. There are many bible texts relating to pain and suffering which Christians can look to at a time of need. They may ask "Why is my pain perpetual, and my wound incurable?" ...read more.


People may say that every human being deserves respect and has the right to choose their own destiny, including how they wish to live or die. They may say that it should be an option for a competent adult who is fully able to be independent and make life changing decisions by their selves. People argue that it should be an offer as one option among many, along with the kind of palliative care offered by hospitals and hospices. Doctors, today, do legally give pain-relieving treatment in doses that will bring about people's deaths quicker, or they may withdraw treatment from someone that is brain dead for example knowing that as a consequence they will die. Some people may argue that voluntary euthanasia would be more honest and much safer if it was legalised. They may argue that there's no ethical difference between withdrawing treatment and delivering a lethal injection. Another argument for euthanasia to be justified is that human beings should be able to maintain dignity up until death, it is not simply a matter of pain but off self respect and of someone's standard of living is such that they no longer wish to live, then they should be able to end their life and if necessary have an assisted death. Also the quality of life is one that only that person can define and someone having control over their own life is a way of enhancing their dignity. I think that euthanasia, in some cases, can be justified because I do not believe that people should be put through so much pain as it is unfair and cruel. However, I also believe it cannot be justified sometimes as it will show strength, faith and devotion from the person towards God if they cope with their illness, their life does not have to be destroyed due to the disease and people can often learn to live with it. ?? ?? ?? ?? Rosie Murdoch L5R R.S Coursework ...read more.

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