Euthanasia, the term means Good Death.
Euthanasia is the act or practice of ending the life of hopelessly sick or injured patients to relieve pain and suffering in a relatively painless way. This leads to a gentle and easy death. In this act, generally, a doctor is allowed to end a person’s life without pain and the patient and his or her family has to be agreed with this. Assisting a patient to commit his death is not euthanasia that would be called assisted suicide.
In this century, euthanasia facts are not well known to people. People sometimes think assisted suicide as euthanasia. One should definitely know about the differences between them.
Euthanasia was practiced in ancient Greece and Rome to treat serious patients who are not willing to be cured in the future. It was supported by Socrates, Plato, and Seneca the Elder in historic times.
In some countries, this act is treated as a legal practice and in some other countries; this act is strictly illegal depending on the type of euthanasia. Various laws exist for euthanasia in each country. The British House of Lords Select Committee on Medical Ethics defines it as a conscious involvement of a person to relieve intractable suffering by ending one’s life without pain.
Types of Euthanasia:
It can be classified into three categories-
Voluntary: Voluntary euthanasia is when death is conducted with the consent of the patient. In some countries, this is legal.
Non-Voluntary: Non-voluntary euthanasia is when death is conducted without the consent of the patient. This is illegal worldwide.
Involuntary: Involuntary euthanasia is when death is conducted against the will of the patient.
Above mentioned types can be further divided into two more categories-
Active: It’s a process where lethal medicines/injections are used to end a patient’s life.
Passive: This is when a medical professional doesn’t do anything necessary to keep the patient alive. Maybe like turning off the feeding tube or turning off the ventilator etc. This act can be mentioned as Passive euthanasia. Though some say this is not euthanasia as it is not intentional in some cases.
Facts about Euthanasia:
- Doctors can ethically perform euthanasia under certain circumstances even after the Hippocratic oath states that doctors will not give deadly medicine to anyone if asked and will never suggest any such counsel.
- Only 9 countries out of 196 countries have legalized this practice.
- This painless death is mostly conducted by offering fatal painkiller doses or drugs.
- King George V was euthanized though it is unlawful in England. The king was given a lethal cocaine & morphine dose for bringing his end of life as he was suffering from cardio-respiratory.
- In Germany, Hitler conducted ‘Nazi Euthanasia Program’ to kill young children and adults who had mental disorders and diseases which are not curable.
- In Marseilles and island of Kea, Hemlock was employed as a means of bringing death in ancient times.
- As of March 2018, Euthanasia is legal in
- It is prohibited in all 50 States of USA but assisted suicide is legal in the states of Oregon (in 1994), Washington (in 2008) and Montana (in 2009).
- Both assisted suicide and euthanasia are legal in Luxembourg and Belgium.
- Under strict guidelines, Passive Euthanasia is now legal in India as well.
This act is not to be performed in the hands of a general person. Doctor’s advice and patient’s consent is a must before performing this act.
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Article Credits: Shereen Abdin | Lucknow | India