This essay has a total of 1375 words and 6 pages.


Euthanasia, also known as mercy killing is a practice of ending a life to release an
individual from an incurable disease or intolerable suffering. Euthanasia has been
accepted both legally and morally in various forms in many societies but not in all. "In
ancient Greece and Rome it was permissible in some situations to help others die. For
example, the Greek writer Plutarch mentioned that in Sparta infanticide was practiced on
children who lacked "health and vigor." Both Socrates and Plato sanctioned forms of
euthanasia in certain cases. Voluntary euthanasia for the elderly was an approved custom
in several ancient societies." With the rise of organized religion, euthanasia became
morally and ethically abhorrent. Christianity, Judaism, and Islam all hold human life
sacred and condemn euthanasia in any form. Following traditional religious principles,
Western laws have generally considered the act of helping someone to die a form of
homicide subject to legal sanctions. "Even a passive withholding of help to prevent death
has frequently been severely punished. Euthanasia, however, occurs secretly in all
societies, including those in which it is held to be immoral and illegal."

There are two main types of euthanasia, passive and active. Passive euthanasia is the
deliberate disconnection of life support equipment, or cessation of any life-sustaining
medical procedure, permitting the natural death of the patient. Active euthanasia is
deliberate action to end the life of a dying patient to avoid further suffering; there are
two types of active euthanasia. Active voluntary euthanasia is when a lethal injection is
giving by a doctor into a dying patient to end life by request of the sufferer. Active
involuntary is lethal injection by a doctor into a dying patient without that person's
express request. Active involuntary is considered murder by most.

Since euthanasia is illegal in 49 of the 50 US states it would seem that most people are
against it. There are some people who have formed organizations that help to educate
people about euthanasia and that In fact euthanasia may be a good thing. One such
organization is ERGO the Euthanasia Research & Guidance Organization a nonprofit
educational corporation, which was founded in 1993 to improve the quality of background
research of physician-assisted dying for persons who are terminally or hopelessly ill and
wish to end their suffering. ERGO was founded by Derek Humpry. Derek first founded the
Hemlock Society in 1980 after the tragic death of his wife Jean. Jean had bone cancer and
suffered a lot of pain and eventually took her own life with Dereks help.

There are also some organizations that feel euthanasia should be illegal. One such
organization is the I.A.E.T.F. which stands for the International Anti-Euthanasia Task
Force. The I.A.E.T.F. is an information center for many different groups, one such group
is Hospice. Hospice is a program designed to assist patients and families at the end of
life. "Hospice care is to provide symptom-directed, supportive care and to address the
physical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs of the patients, families and caregivers"
of terminally ill individuals. Basically hospice doesn't believe in any form of
euthanasia. The focus of Hospice is pain management. If you can manage the pain through
medications it is thought by this group that you don't have to take your life.

Currently, there is only one state where euthanasia is legal this state is Oregon. New
York currently believes that euthanasia should be illegal, but has set up pain management
programs. There are two main documents in New York that help the dying patient gain a
sense of control ever the end of their life these are the do not resuscitate (DNR) and the
health care proxy. The do not resuscitate or DNR form states simply that when respirations
and or the heart stops no one will attempt to resuscitate a person from cardiac or
pulmanary arrest. A DNR is a legal document and requires adult signatures.

The Health Care proxy is a document that allows you to appoint someone you trust to decide
about medical treatment for yourself should you become incapacitated. This document makes
sure that your health care providers will follow your exact wishes. You can give any
person the right to make these decisions about your health on this form. Hospitals,
doctors, and other health care providers must follow your appointed agent's decisions as
if they were your own.

One of the most media orientated people on the subject of euthanasia is Dr. Jack
Kevorkian. Kevorkian interest started in 1986 when Kevorkian learned that some doctors in
the Netherlands were helping patients to die who were terminally ill or experiencing
unbearable suffering. This news caused his longtime interest in dying patients to evolve
into a campaign to legitimize physician-assisted suicide. Illustrating his belief that
society should treat death in a more rational—rather than emotional—manner, Kevorkian
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