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What Is Active Euthanasia? Essay

1330 words - 5 pages

In the world of medicine, advances in technology are continuously being made to increase the populations lifespan. An increased ability to live longer does not necessarily mean an enhanced quality of life, as humans age quality of life tends to decrease due to the diagnosis of degenerative or incurable diseases (Butter, Tiedman, Nicol, & Valiquet, 2013). These individuals often suffer from uncontrollable pain and/or interminable suffering, creating a complex situation in which the medical health professional must decide on the most appropriate end-of-life care possible (Collèges des Quèbec, 2009). In many cases euthanasia may be requested, but unfortunately this method is not available in to patients in Canada as it is an illegal practice. Health care professionals should be allowed to practice active euthanasia for patients whose quality of life has decreased so greatly that prolonging it begins to harm the patient rather than help them.
Active euthanasia is defined as a deliberate act by a health professional with the intention of ending a patient's life to relieve the pain and suffering of that person with their consent (Butler et. al., 2013) . Euthanasia is not to be confused with assisted suicide which is the when a person kills them self with the help of another person who provides the knowledge and/or means (Butler et. al., 2013). Currently suicide is legal in Canada, but euthanasia is illegal and therefore health professionals are unable to administer and practice it. By being unable to practice euthanasia, health care professionals are no longer able to follow the principles of ethics, patients are unable to make autonomous decisions with end of life care. Individuals that are being refused euthanasia are living with a severely decreased quality of life due to terminal diseases and continuous pain. By being refused euthanasia patients are in constant pain and therefore health care professionals are harming the patients instead of helping them.
In Canada it is legal to commit suicide, but other life ending actions such as active euthanasia are illegal and punishable by the law. This means that any able bodied healthy person has the ability to end their life, but a terminally ill person is prohibited from committing physician assisted suicide or euthanasia ( Butler et. al., 2013). Although it is illegal to seek out euthanasia, patients sill have the right to refuse or cease treatment. This is a case of action versus omission, both times there are the same intentions and outcomes (Schuklenk et. al., 20ll), but if a medical professional they could be charged with murder. By definition euthanasia is first degree murder, but can also be treated as second degree murder. Motive is irrelevant and consent from the patient does not provide a defence (Schuklenk, 2011). The strict laws against murder and assisted suicide currently prevent health professionals from administering active euthanasia. This is unfair as terminally ill and suffering...

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