Thursday, 16 April 2009

Different kinds of euthanasia? Some Definitions

The last post mentioned the need to examine the language that we are using to refer to end of life issues and in particular euthanasia. The different forms of euthanasia are futher explored in the following article from the BBC.

Active Euthanasia is doing something, such as giving a drug with the intention to bring about death.

Passive Euthanasia is the deliberate shortening of life through an omission to act. The term "passive euthanasia" is applied quite inapprorpiately to treatment withdrawal, where the treatment concerned is proving ineffective in achieving recovery and should rightly be stopped. Neither the withdrawal of inappropriate treatment nor the decision to refrain from using it can correctly be called euthanasia. These decisions are the expression of good clinical judgement.

A failure by a doctor to provide a patient with treatment thought by responsible medical opinion to be necessary in the circumstances, could well be a criminal omission, whereas at the other end of the scale, no doctor need resport to 'heroic methods' to prolong life.

Voluntary Euthanasia: is ending the person's life at their specific request. this category has been at the centre of attempts to legalise euthanasia. The 'specific request' is currently interpreted by supporters of the procedure, not only as a request at the time of the distressing illness, but also in advance, for instance by means of a Living Will.

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CreditsThe picture of the lfying bird was done by Kashyap-HC


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