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What is meant by euthanasia?

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Euthanasia Euthanasia has recently been legalised in Holland (where it has been practiced for many years anyway) which brings back to life the debate about it's acceptance throughout Europe. To commit suicide (or to take one's life) is not actually a crime in the UK as there is not much that the law can do to punish someone for taking their own life. However if you were to help someone take their own life you could be charged with murder or manslaughter and face up to a life sentence in prison! There are two types of Euthanasia there is: Voluntary Euthanasia: This is where a person has a painful or terminal disease and cannot do anything for themselves, so they ask someone to kill them painlessly and mercifully so as to put them out of their misery. This is mainly to avoid suffering which they know will come with a slow and painful death (which is inevitable in their case). The most common form would be a doctor injecting them with a lethal dose of painkillers, which would cause him or her absolutely no pain at all, pain which they would suffer if left to die naturally. Non-Voluntary Euthanasia (also known as mercy killing): This is where a person is not kept alive as they are seen as having a life worse than death. This decision is made because the person concerned cannot make a decision for his or herself e.g. babies born with terrible abnormalities and in great pain; people on life support machines, who are 'brain dead' and people who are in comas who have to be fed intravenously. ...read more.


to do the simplest things such as go to the toilet or even eat. When someone feels that they have lost all means to carry on existing (or that they have a reason itself to stop life such as inevitable pain) then they might wish to end their life it is simply cruel to withhold from them that ability to do so as they are to disabled too do it on their own. There have been a few rules that have been put forward by the people wishing euthanasia to be made legal (I believe that these are followed to some degree or at least in some variation in the countries where it is legal already). They are as follows: - The patient must be terminally ill (this means that they must have no hope of recovering). - The patient must have 6 months or less to live (by a doctor's opinion). - The patient must make two oral requests for assistance in dying (to a witness as well not just to a relative in case they are lying). - The patient must make one written request for assistance (which would be copied and sent to all people concerned). - The patient must convince two physicians that she/he is sincere, is not taking action on a whim, and that the decision is voluntary (is not influenced by any relative or friend who would stand to gain on the victim's death). - The patient must not have been influenced by depression - The patient must be informed of the "feasible alternatives, including, but not limited to, comfort care, hospice care and pain control. - The patient must wait 15 days. ...read more.


A hospice is a place where terminally ill person goes. It is a place that is dedicated solely to making the lives of people who are terminally ill better and it does it very well. They believe that a patient desiring euthanasia would do perfectly well in a hospice when under the influence of powerful painkilling drugs, drugs that under normal circumstances would shorten the life of the person but now is actually prolonging it as he or she would no longer (they claim) desire euthanasia. There is also the worry (when dealing with a wish for euthanasia) that a person who has made the decision when under a different condition (i.e. one better than the one they are in now meaning that they can communicate) they might change their mind and wish to go back on the decision that they made only a few days before but can not tell the doctor as they have lost the ability to communicate with anyone, were this to happen it could be classed as murder! This worry is coupled with the fact that people who have so often been written off (not expected to recover) by doctors and who would have been euphonised had the law permitted it have recovered to a full (or most usually a partial) life. The last point that I have to make about this is that under the Hippocratic Oath doctors swear to preserve life and to do the best for their patients and that by killing the person they are breaking that oath. The idea of doing anything other than keeping the patient alive to the end is a direct violation of the principles that doctors strive to uphold. ...read more.

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