In most countries, euthanasia is illegal and can lead a victim to a jail sentence. In the United States, the law varies between states.
For long now euthanasia has been a controversial and arousing topic.
The definition of Euthanasia and doctor assisted suicide
Assisted suicide: Is it an act of compassion?
There are different ways euthanasia and assisted suicide could be defined. From the text below we shall give you a simple definition of each.
One useful distinction is:
Euthanasia: A doctor or physician is backed up by law to use a painless means to ends a patient or someones life, as far as the patient and their family are into agreement.
Assisted suicide: A doctor or physician assists a patient to commit suicide if they ask for it.
The difference between Voluntary and involuntary euthanasia
Euthanasia can also be classed as voluntary or involuntary.
Voluntary: When euthanasia is conducted with permission. Voluntary euthanasia is currently legal in Belgium, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Switzerland, and the states of Oregon and Washington in the U.S.
Non-voluntary: Is when euthanasia is administered on a person who is unable to permission due to their current state of their health condition. In this case the decision is made by another suitable person, on behalf of the patient, regarding on how they see the current health state or situation in hand.
Involuntary: In this case, euthanasia is administered on a person without his/her concern in which he/she would be able to provide knowledgeable permission or makes his own decisions, either because they do not want to die, or because they were not asked. This is called murder, as it’s often against the patients will.
What is the difference between Passive and active euthanasia
There are two approach in the classifications of euthanasia:
Passive euthanasia is when life-sustaining treatments are held back. The definitions are not precise. If a doctor or physicians prescribes increasing doses of strong painkilling medications, such as opioids, this may eventually be toxic for the patient. Some may argue that this is passive euthanasia.
Moreover, others, would say this is not euthanasia, because there is no intention to take life.
Active euthanasia is when someone uses lethal substances or forces to end a patient’s life, whether by the patient or somebody else.
Active euthanasia is more controversial, and it is more likely to involve religious, moral, ethical, and compassionate arguments.
What assisted suicide means
Assisted suicide has several different interpretations and definitions.
“Intentionally helping a person commit suicide by providing drugs for self-administration, at that person’s voluntary and competent request.”
Some definitions include the words, “in order to relieve intractable (persistent, unstoppable) suffering.”
The role of palliative care
Since pain is the most visible sign of distress of persistent suffering, people with cancer and other life-threatening, chronic conditions will often receive palliative care. Opioids are commonly used to manage pain and other symptoms.
The adverse effects of opioids include drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, and constipation. They can also be addictive. An overdose can be life-threatening.
In many countries, including the U.S., a patient can refuse treatment that is recommended by a health professional, as long as they have been properly informed and are “of sound mind.”