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Definitions Euthanasia Euthanasia is an emotionally charged word, and definitional confusion has been fermented by characterizations such as passive versus active euthanasia.Some have suggested avoiding using the word altogether.They examine the standard arguments advanced by both proponents and opponents of legalizing euthanasia and note some recent legal developments in the matter.
For the sake of clarity, we note here that outside those jurisdictions, for a physician to administer euthanasia would be first-degree murder, whether or not the patient had consented to it.
Assisted suicide Assisted suicide has the same goal as euthanasia: causing the death of a person.
It may be understandable that personal perspectives will vary on matters such as physician-assisted suicide (PAS) and euthanasia, particularly in our pluralistic societies.
However, it is unacceptable that conversations of a professional nature would proceed in the absence of agreement on relevant first principles and without a shared knowledge base.
The line of argument that connects this narrative and supports their rejection of euthanasia is the belief that intentionally inflicting death on another human being is inherently wrong.
Even if it were not, the risks and harms of legalizing euthanasia outweigh any benefits.It would be akin to a cadre of interventional cardiologists, equipped with a shaky grasp of the vascular anatomy of the myocardium, debating the merits of an innovative approach to intracoronary stenting.This article addresses such lacunae in relation to euthanasia and PAS.The sense in which physicians encounter it today, as a request for the active and intentional hastening of a patient’s demise, is a modern phenomenon; the first sample sentence given by the Oxford English Dictionary to illustrate the use of the verb is dated 1975.The notion of inducing, causing, or delivering a (good) death, so thoroughly ensconced in our contemporary, so-called “progressive values” cultural ethos, is a new reality. ” The causes go well beyond responding to the suffering person who seeks euthanasia, are broad and varied, and result from major institutional and societal changes. We recommend the one used by the Canadian Senate in its 1995 report: “The deliberate act undertaken by one person with the intention of ending the life of another person in order to relieve that person’s suffering.” Terms such as active and passive euthanasia should be banished from our vocabulary.We believe it would be a mistake to abandon the word, but we need to clarify it.The word’s etymology is straightforward: eu means good and Thanatos means death.An action either is or is not euthanasia, and these qualifying adjectives only serve to confuse.When a patient has given informed consent to a lethal injection, the term “voluntary euthanasia” is often used; when they have not done so, it is characterized as “involuntary euthanasia”.We consider the effect of legalization on patients and their families, physicians (as individuals and a collectivity), hospitals, the law, and society at large.Our goal is to provide a vade mecum useful in end-of-life care and ethical decision-making in that context.