Euthanasia (from the Greek

meaning "good death":

, eu (well or good) +

, thanatos (death)) refers to the practice of ending a life in a manner which relieves pain and suffering. According to the House of Lords Select Committee on Medical Ethics, the precise definition of euthanasia is "a deliberate intervention undertaken with the express intention of ending a life, to relieve intractable suffering."

Euthanasia is categorized in different ways, which include voluntary, non-voluntary, or involuntary and active or passive. Euthanasia is usually used to refer to active euthanasia, and in this sense, euthanasia is usually considered to be criminal homicide, but voluntary, passive euthanasia is widely non-criminal. The controversy surrounding euthanasia centers around a two-pronged argument by opponents which characterizes euthanasia as either voluntary "suicides", or as involuntary murders. (Hence, opponents argue that a broad policy of "euthanasia" is tantamount to eugenics). Much hinges on whether a particular death was considered an "easy", "painless", or "happy" one, or whether it was a "wrongful death". Proponents typically consider a death that increased suffering to be "wrongful", while opponents typically consider any deliberate death as "wrongful". "Euthanasia's" original meaning introduced the idea of a "rightful death" beyond that only found in natural deaths. Like other terms borrowed from history, the "euthanasia" has had different meanings depending on usage. The first apparent usage of the term "euthanasia" belongs to the historian Suetonius who described how the Emperor Augustus, "dying quickly and without suffering in the arms of his wife, Livia, experienced the 'euthanasia' he had wished for."[4] The word "euthanasia" was first used in a medical context by Francis Bacon in the 17th century, to refer to an easy, painless, happy death, during which it was a "physician's responsibility to alleviate the 'physical sufferings' of the body." Bacon referred to an "outward euthanasia"²the term "outward" he used to distinguish from a spiritual concept²the euthanasia "which regards the preparation of the soul."[5] In current usage, one approach to defining euthanasia has been to mirror Suetonius, regarding it as the "painless inducement of a quick death".[6] However, it is argued that this approach fails to properly define euthanasia, as it leaves open a number of possible actions which would meet the requirements of the definition, but would not be seen as euthanasia. In particular, these include situations where a person kills another, painlessly, but for no reason beyond that of personal gain; or accidental deaths which are quick and painless, but not intentional.[7][8] Thus another approach is to incorporate the notion of suffering into the definition.[7] The definition offered by the Oxford English Dictionary incorporates suffering as a necessary condition, with "the painless killing of a patient suffering from an incurable and painful disease or in an irreversible coma",[9] and this approach can be seen as a part of other works, such as Marvin Khol and Paul Kurtz's "a mode or act of inducing or permitting death painlessly as a relief from suffering".[10] However, focusing on this approach

where B is either the cause of death or a causally relevant feature of the event resulting in death (whether by action or by omission). Beauchamp & Davidson had also offered a definition which includes these elements. and (b) there is sufficient current evidence for either A or B that causal means to A's death will not produce any more suffering than would be produced for A if B were not to intervene. B. such that the actions of the agent lead to the outcome..[12] Draper argued that any definition of euthanasia must incorporate four elements: an agent and a subject. she offered a definition incorporating those elements." [8] Definitions such as that offered by the House of Lords Select Committee on Medical Ethicstake this path. that is motivated solely by the best interests of the person who dies. Based on this. although they offered a somewhat longer account. (4) the causal means to the event of A's death are chosen by A or B to be as painless as possible. who also spoke to the importance of motive. arguing that "the motive forms a crucial part of arguments for euthanasia. (A) kills another person (B) for the benefit of the second person. and one that specifically discounts fetuses in order to distinguish between abortions and euthanasia:[14] "In summary. stating that euthanasia "must be defined as death that results from the intention of one person to kill another person. that the death of a human being. where euthanasia is defined as "a deliberate intervention undertaken with the express intention of ending a life."[1] Beauchamp & Davidson also highlight Baruch Brody's "an act of euthanasia is one in which one person . or there is sufficient current evidence related to A's present condition such that one or more known causal laws supports B's belief that A will be in a condition of acute suffering or irreversible comatoseness. and the intent of the action must be a "merciful death"." . (3) (a) B's primary reason for intending A's death is cessation of A's (actual or predicted future) suffering or irreversible comatoseness. unless either A or B has an overriding reason for a more painful causal means. [11] [7] a view mirrored by Heather Draper. who actually does benefit from being killed". and an outcome. to relieve intractable suffering. and commentators such asTom Beauchamp & Arnold Davidson have argued that doing such would constitute "murder simpliciter" rather than euthanasia.. (2) there is either sufficient current evidence for B to believe that A is acutely suffering or irreversibly comatose. is an instance of euthanasia if and only if (1) A's death is intended by at least one other human being. (5) A is a nonfetal [15] organism. using the most gentle and painless means defining euthanasia may also lead to counterexamples: such definitions may encompass killing a person suffering from an incurable disease for personal gain (such as to claim an inheritance). A. rather than being accidental."[13] Prior to Draper. where B does not intend A's death for a different primary reason.. though there may be other relevant reasons. where the reason for choosing the latter causal means does not conflict with the evidence in 3b.. a casual proximity. because it must be in the best interests of the person on the receiving end. Michael Wreen argued that ³the principal thing that distinguishes euthanasia from intentional killing simpliciter is the agent's motive: it must be a good motive insofar as the good of the person killed is concerned´. [7] The third element incorporated into many definitions is that of intentionality ± the death must be intended. an intention. we have argued .

[7][21] However. Non-voluntary euthanasia Main article: Non-voluntary euthanasia Euthanasia conducted where the consent of the patient is unavailable is termed non-voluntary euthanasia. Active voluntary euthanasia is legal in Belgium. (5) A's killing of B is a voluntary action.Wreen. Assisted suicide is legal in Switzerland and the U. non-voluntary and involuntary euthanasia can all be further divided into passive or active variants. consent on the part of the patient was not considered to be one of their criteria. Examples include child euthanasia. Luxembourg and the Netherlands. states of Oregon. non-voluntary and involuntary. Director. involuntary) killing of patients can be regarded as euthanasia. In the definitions offered by Beauchamp & Davidson and. (4) the causal journey from the intention specified in (2) to the action specified in (1) is more or less in accordance with A's plan of action. irrespective of intent or the patient's circumstances. Procedural decision Voluntary. the motive standi Euthanasia may be classified according to whether a person gives informed consent into three types: voluntary. offered a six part definition: "Person A committed an act of euthanasia if and only if (1) A killed B or let her die. others see consent as essential. Voluntary euthanasia Main article: Voluntary euthanasia Euthanasia conducted with the consent of the patient is termed voluntary euthanasia. which is illegal worldwide but decriminalised under certain specific circumstances in the Netherlands under the Groningen Protocol. Washington and Montana. (6) the motive for the action specified in (1). When the patient brings about his or her own death with the assistance of a physician. in part responding to Beauchamp & Davidson. per Cruzan v. later. Passive voluntary euthanasia is legal throughout the U. [22] [1] A number of authors consider these terms to be misleading and unhelpful. (3) the intention specified in (2) was at least partial cause of the action specified in (1).S. Passive euthanasia . [19][20] There is a debate within the medical and bioethics literature about whether or not the non-voluntary (and by extension.S. by Wreen. the term assisted suicide is often used instead. (2) A intended to kill B. Involuntary euthanasia Main article: Involuntary euthanasia Euthanasia conducted against the will of the patient is termed involuntary euthanasia. Missouri Department of Health. although it may have been required to justify euthanasia.

which is not.[41] Unlike physician-assisted suicide. [1] Active euthanasia Active euthanasia entails the use of lethal substances or forces to kill and is the most controversial means.[40] Physician-assisted suicide is thus not classified as euthanasia by the US State of Oregon. and despite its name. such as antibiotics.[36][37][38] Not all homicide is unlawful. and d) legalising euthanasia will place society on a slippery slope.[42] The use of pain medication in order to relieve suffering. withholding or withdrawing life-sustaining treatments with patient consent (voluntary) is almost unanimously considered.Passive euthanasia entails the withholding of common treatments. the University of Washington website states that "euthanasia generally means that the physician would act directly. According to Ezekiel Emmanuel. Emmanuel argues that there are four major arguments presented by opponents of euthanasia: a) not all deaths are painful. even to relieve intractable suffering. even if it hastens death. Historically. such as cessation of active treatment. and thus should be allowed to choose their own fate. are available. has been held as legal in several court decisions. c) the distinction between active and passive euthanasia is morally significant. necessary for the continuance of life. The term "euthanasia" is usually confined to the active variety. Similarly. to be legal. which is often permitted. combined with the use of effective pain relief. and d) permitting euthanasia will not necessarily lead to unacceptable consequences. b) alternatives.[34] Legal status Main article: Legality of euthanasia West's Encyclopedia of American Law states that "a 'mercy killing' or euthanasia is generally considered to be a criminal homicide" made by the patient. the euthanasia debate has tended to focus on a number of key concerns. [36] [35] and is normally used as a synonym of homicide committed at a request The judicial sense of the term "homicide" includes any intervention undertaken with the express intention of ending a life. for instance by giving a lethal injection. to end the patient's life". where it is legal under the Oregon Death with Dignity Act. which will lead to unacceptable consequences. is not substantive.[39] Two designations of homicide that carry no criminal punishment are justifiable and excusable homicide. b) assisting a subject to die might be a better choice than requiring that they continue to suffer. c) the distinction between passive euthanasia. [40] .[39] In most countries this is not the status of euthanasia. and active euthanasia. it is not legally classified as suicide either. proponents of euthanasia have presented four main arguments: a) that people have a right to self-determination. at least in the United States.

and for the remaining 29%. and the remaining 14% think it depends. 46% of physicians agree that physician-assisted suicide should be allowed in some cases. it would depend on circumstances. it still remains homicide although it is not prosecuted and not punishable if the perpetrator (the doctor) meets certain legal exceptions.000 physicians came to the result that approximately 16% of physicians would ever consider halting life-sustaining therapy because the family demands it.[47] This study also stated that approx. [43][44][45][46] Physician sentiment A survey in the United States of more than 10. even if believed that it was premature. 41% do not. Approximately 55% would not. In the Netherlands and Belgium.[47] . where euthanasia has been legalized.Some governments around the world have legalized voluntary euthanasia but generally it remains as a criminal homicide.

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