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Euthanasia and Physician Assisted Suicide

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Essay title: Euthanasia and Physician Assisted Suicide

Euthanasia And Physician Assisted Suicide

The word euthanasia originated from the Greek language: “Eu” meaning "good" and “Thanatos” meaning "death". One definition given to the word is the intentional termination of life by another at the explicit request of the person who dies. The term euthanasia normally implies that the person who wishes to commit suicide must initiate the act. However, some people define euthanasia to include both voluntary and involuntary termination of life. Like so many moral, ethical, and religious terms, euthanasia has many meanings. The result is mass confusion.

Passive Euthanasia is the hastening of death of a person by altering some form of support and letting nature take its course. Removing life support and stopping medical procedures or medications are examples of passive euthanasia. These procedures are performed on terminally ill, suffering people so that natural death will occur sooner. It is also done on people in a Persistent Vegetative State, which are individuals with massive brain damage who are in a coma from which they cannot possibly regain consciousness.

Active euthanasia involves causing the death of a person through a direct action, in response to a request from that person. A well-known example was the mercy killing in 1998 of a patient with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) by Dr. Kevorkian, a Michigan physician. His patient was scared that his disease would cause him to die a horrible death; he wanted a quick, painless exit from life. Dr. Kevorkian injected controlled substances into the patient, causing his death. Charged with 1st degree murder, the jury found him guilty of 2nd degree murder in March 1999.

Throughout North America, committing suicide or attempting to commit suicide is no longer a criminal offense. However, helping another person commit suicide is a criminal act. One exception is the state of Oregon, which allows people who are terminally ill and in intractable pain to get a lethal prescription from their

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