Euthanasia

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Euthanasia

Definition: the painless killing of someone dying from a painful disease.

Murder or helping?

Types of euthanasia:-

  • Voluntary euthanasia = a person's life is ended deliberately and painlessly at their request
  • Assisted suicide = providing a seriously ill person with the means to commit suicide
  • Non-voluntary euthanasia = ending someone's life painlessly when they are unable to ask, but you have good reason for thinking they would want you to do so

Ways in which euthansia is carried out:-

  • Active euthanasia - carried out by a doctor performing a deliberate action such as a lethal injection
  • Passive euthanasia - when medical treatment or life support is withdrawn or when a serverely ill person is not given treatment to help them survive
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UK Euthanasia Law

  • All forms of euthanasia are against the law
  • Switching off a life support machine for a patient who is 'brain dead' is not considered euthanasia and is allowed
  • In 1993, the House of Lords rejected a proposal to legalise euthanasia
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Arguments For and Against Euthanasia

FOR Euthanasia:-

  • Allows the patient to die a gentle, pain-free death
  • The patient dies with dignity
  • Euthanasia saves medical costs
  • Medical staff can focus on patients with more chance of recovery
  • It can relieve the family burden

AGAINST Euthanasia:-

  • Sanctity of life - life is sacred and special
  • Slippery slope - if euthanasia was legalises, it could lead to other things being made legal which would lessen the value of life
  • Some people may be pressurised into choosing euthanasia
  • Hospices provide alternate palliative care for patients so euthanasia is not needed
  • Doctors can be wrong about a diagnosis
  • Helping someone to commit suicide means living with what you have done for the rest of your life
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