Print this page What is Euthanasia?
Second Year Medicine University of New South Wales Nargus is passionate about writing on topics that are relevant to the practice of medicine and aims to incorporate medical journalism in her future career as a doctor. Introduction The topic of euthanasia is one that is shrouded with much ethical debate and ambiguity.
Various types of euthanasia are recognised, with active voluntary euthanasia, assisted suicide and physicianassisted suicide eliciting the most controversy. Euthanasia is currently illegal in all Australian states, refl ecting the status quo of most countries, although, there are a handful of countries and states where acts of euthanasia are legally permitted under certain conditions.
Furthermore, it is said that good palliative care can provide relief from suffering to patients and unlike euthanasia, should be the answer in modern medicine.
This article will define several terms relating to euthanasia in order to frame the key arguments used by proponents and opponents of euthanasia. It will also outline the legal situation of euthanasia in Australia and countries abroad.
Various types of euthanasia are recognised. In Australia and most countries around the world, this practice is not considered as euthanasia at all. The main difference between active voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide is that in assisted suicide and physician-assisted suicide, the patient performs the killing act.
The doctrine of double effect excuses the death of the patient that may result, as a secondary effect, from an action taken with the primary intention of alleviating pain. However, there was a period when the Northern Territory permitted euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide under the Rights of Terminally Ill Act The Act came into effect in and made the Northern Territory the first place in the world to legally permit active voluntary euthanasia and physicianassisted suicide.
Under this Act, competent terminally ill adults who were aged 18 or over, were able to request a physician to help them in dying. This Act was short-lived however, after the Federal Government overturned it in with the Euthanasia Laws Act Arguments for and against euthanasia There are many arguments that have been put forward for and against euthanasia.
A few of the main arguments for and against euthanasia are outlined below. For Rights-based argument Advocates of euthanasia argue that a patient has the right to make the decision about when and how they should die, based on the principles of autonomy and self-determination.
Furthermore, it is argued that as part of our human rights, there is a right to make our own decisions and a right to a dignified death.
In line with this view, it is argued that active euthanasia should be permitted just as passive euthanasia is allowed. James Rachels  is a well-known proponent of euthanasia who advocates this view.
He states that there is no moral difference between killing and letting die, as the intention is usually similar based on a utilitarian argument. He illustrates this argument by making use of two hypothetical scenarios.
In the first scenario, Smith anticipates an inheritance should anything happen to his six-year-old cousin, and ventures to drown the child while he takes his bath. In a similar scenario, Jones stands to inherit a fortune should anything happen to his six-year-old cousin, and upon intending to drown his cousin, he witnesses his cousin drown on his own by accident and lets him die.
Letting a patient die from an incurable disease may be seen as allowing the disease to be the natural cause of death without moral culpability. The many arguments that have been put forward for and against euthanasia, and the handful that have been outlined provide only a glimpse into the ethical debate and controversy surrounding the topic of euthanasia.A.
AGS Ethics Committee, Physician-Assisted Suicide and Voluntary Active Euthanasia. Journal of American Geriatrics Society, May , 43(5) Dec 14, · Euthanasia is the termination of a very sick person's life in order to relieve them of their suffering. A person who undergoes euthanasia usually has an incurable condition.
But there are other. Euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide is when action is taken to end the life of a person who is experiencing long-term illness.
Euthanasia is against the law in many countries, and in the U.S. Thesis: Euthanasia should not be recognized at all as it undermines the overall worth of human life, it is destructive to the practice of medicine and it is an act of killing which must not be accommodated in the legal system (POD).
History of Euthanasia. About B.C. - The Hippocratic Oath (By the "Father of Medicine' Greek physician Hippocrates) "I will give no deadly medicine to any one if . Thomas Aquinas opposed both and argued that the practice of euthanasia contradicted our natural human instincts of survival, as did Francois Ranchin (–), a French physician and professor of medicine, and Michael Boudewijns (–), a physician and .