Euthanasia14 Essay

This essay has a total of 815 words and 5 pages.



Euthanasia is the practice of mercifully ending a person’s life in order to release the
person from an incurable disease, intolerable suffering, or undignified death. The word
euthanasia derives from the Greek for “good death” and originally referred to intentional
mercy killing. When medical advances made prolonging the lives of dying or comatose
patients possible, the term euthanasia was also applied to a lack of action to prevent

There are three “practices” that are involved with Euthanasia. The first one is voluntary
(or “active) euthanasia, where the person asks to be killed. This involves painlessly
putting individuals to death for merciful reasons, as when a doctor administers a lethal
does of medication to a patient.

The second “practice” that is involved with Euthanasia is involuntary. This concerns the
killing of persons who cannot express their wishes, because of immaturity (such as a
newborn infant), mental retardation or coma. Here is it decided by others that that person
would be better off dead.

The third “practice” is passive euthanasia, where the patient is killed by withdrawing
some kind of support and letting nature takes its course. For example this would include
removing life support or stopping medical procedures. It also includes not delivering CPR
(cardio-pulmonary resuscitation) and allowing a person, whose heart has stopped, to die.

Many people fail to differentiate between euthanasia and assisted suicide. In euthanasia,
one person does something that directly kills another. For example, a doctor gives a
lethal injection to a patient. In assisted suicide, a non-suicidal person knowingly and
intentionally provides the means or acts in some way to help a suicidal person kill
himself or herself. For example, a doctor writes a prescription for poison, or someone
hooks up a device and than instructs the suicidal person how to use it to kill him or

Euthanasia has been accepted in some forms by various groups or societies throughout
history. In ancient Greece and Rome helping others die or putting them to death was
considered permissible in some situations. Voluntary euthanasia for the elderly was an
approved custom in several ancient societies also. However, as Christianity developed and
grew powerful in the West, euthanasia became morally and ethically abhorrent and was
viewed as a violation of God’s gift of life. Today most branches of Christianity, Judaism,
and Islam condemn active euthanasia, although some permit restricted forms of passive

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