my own notes when I did the GCSE last year... hope you find it useful

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  • Created on: 04-06-11 13:24
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Unit 7: Medical Ethics
Euthanasia: Gentle, easy death; mercy-killing [Eu ­ good, thanatos ­ death]
Active: Positive steps to end someone's life (E.g. Giving lethal injection/Fatal dose of drugs), illegal in UK
Passive: Withdrawing treatment to hasten the end of someone's life
Withdrawal of extraordinary treatment is acceptable (E.g. Turn off life support machine ­
Natasha Richardson)
Withdrawal of ordinary treatment is sometimes allowed by the court (E.g. Tony Bland)
Assisting suicide is not allowed ­ considered to be murder (E.g. Diane Pretty's husband Brian
was not allowed to help her die, BUT law has been clarified: Debbie Purdy's husband will not
be prosecuted)
Voluntary: When someone asks for their life to be ended (Go to Dignitas clinic for euthanasia service)
Involuntary: Where the patient is not able to give their consent, but they would probably do so ­
comatose in PVS (Persistent Vegetable State)
Non-voluntary: The patient has not been given the chance to give consent ­ like murder, T4
(Assisted Suicide): Patient wants to die, but is unable to do so alone, so seeks help of a third party
Not allowed (murder!)
Euthanasia is allowed in Switzerland, Netherlands, Oregon (USA)
Zurich, Switzerland ­ Dignitas clinic: give lethal dose of barbiturates (assist you in suicide)
E.g. Dr Anne Turner
FOR euthanasia
1. Suicide is not a crime, so why is euthanasia?
If the law were changed, doctors could give euthanasia to patients who really wanted it
2. Ends person's suffering, reduces suffering of family & friends, esp. terminal diseases
3. Unnecessary treatment inhumane to prolong treatment
4. High cost of keeping terminally ill patients alive ­ money better spent elsewhere, more resources
can be put on patients with curable diseases
5. The principle of agapé ­ "So in everything, do to others as you would have them do to you."
Matthew 7:12 Suffering takes away dignity & independence. It is unkind to make people continue to
suffer when they are terminally ill, euthanasia= the most loving thing to do, help them die with
6. Autonomy: We should value personal choice, people should have the right to decide when & how he
7. Roman Catholics allow euthanasia under the Doctrine of Double Effect using painkillers like morphine
to relief pain, but speeds up death. In this case, euthanasia's primary intention is to help, (reduce
suffering) instead of kill
8. Death `The end' ­ During afterlife, the dead would be in union with Christ, away from all pain
9. God understands patient's suffering and loves everyone, especially people in need
10. Jesus is a compassionate healer. Following Jesus' example, we should let terminally ill patients die.

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AGAINST euthanasia:
1. Life is a gift from God and is to be taken away only by God. No one has the right to destroy it.
"If we live, we live to the Lord and if we die, we die to the Lord, so whether we live or die, we are
the Lord's." Romans 14:8
"Naked I came from my mother's womb and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord
has taken away.…read more

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Responses to someone who wants euthanasia
Encourage to live
Read Bible together ­ understand more about the Sanctity of Life
Go to church for more support
Talk to family and friends
Suggest hospice care
Case Studies
1. Tony Bland ­ Last victim of Hillsborough disaster not enough police
Compressive Asphyxia ­ suffocation by crushing
In Persistent Vegetable State
1st patient to legally have life-prolonging treatment withdrawn
2.…read more


Miss KHP

Useful for most exam boards in the ethics part of the examination.

Great because the notes are very detailed and there are lots of quotes and what things mean e.g.

easy death; mercy-killing [Eu – good, thanatos – death]

Have a read!


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