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Euthanasia And Legal Issues Essay

1067 words - 4 pages

A considerable size of society is in favor of Euthanasia mostly because they feel that as we live in a democratic country we are free individuals and have the right to decide for ourselves whether or not it is our right to determine when to terminate someone's life. The stronger and more widely held opinion is against Euthanasia primarily because society feels that it is god's task to determine when one of his creations time has come, and we as human beings are in no position to behave as god and end someone's life. When humans take it upon themselves to shorten their lives or to have others to do it for them by withdrawing life-sustaining apparatus, they play god. They usurp the divine function, and interfere with the divine plan.Euthanasia derives its origin from two Greek words 'eu' and 'thanatos' which means 'good' and 'death' respectively. Thus the literary meaning of Euthanasia is only "good death". It later came to be known as "mercy killing". Euthanasia is often mistaken or associated with for assisted suicide, a distant cousin of euthanasia, in which "a person wishes to commit suicide but feels unable to perform the act alone because of a physical disability or lack of knowledge about the most effective means. An individual who assists a suicide victim in accomplishing that goal may or may not be held responsible for the death, depending on local laws". Euthanasia on the other hand is defined as "The intentional killing by act or omission of a dependent human being for his or her alleged benefit. The key word here is "intentional". If death is not intended, it is not an act of euthanasia". Thus it is evident that there is a distinct difference between euthanasia and assisted suicide.There are mainly three types of euthanasia. The first type mentioned above is known as "active voluntary euthanasia." This is where a conscious, mentally competent person, usually with a severe physical ailment, loses the will to live. Many have said that keeping them alive is just prolonging their death, a form of cruel and unusual punishment. They may ask that life support equipment be disconnected so that they can die quickly, painlessly, with dignity. Most doctors are trained to try their best to defeat death, or at least try to delay it as long as possible. But if the patient is hopelessly ill, and would prefer to die, the doctor may consult the hospital ethics committee, and take him or her off of life support. When taken to court in these issues, the doctors defend themselves in saying, "I didn't kill him, I let him die." This is illegal in India but it still is a common occurrence.The second type, "passive voluntary euthanasia," is done when a terminally ill patient's or a patient in a persistent vegetative state's (PVS) family chooses to take their loved one off of life support. A PVS patient has no self-awareness or any awareness of their surroundings because the cerebralcortex, the thinking part of the brain, id dead. The brain stem, the part of...

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