Marker and Kathi Hamlon One of the most important public policy debates today surrounds the issues of euthanasia and assisted suicide. The outcome of that debate will profoundly affect family relationships, interaction between doctors and patients, and concepts of basic ethical behavior. With so much at stake, more is needed than a duel of one-liners, slogans and sound bites.
The first apparent usage of the term "euthanasia" belongs to the historian Suetoniuswho described how the Emperor Augustus"dying quickly and without suffering in the arms of his wife, Livia, experienced the 'euthanasia' he had wished for.
In particular, these include situations where a person kills another, painlessly, but for no reason beyond that of personal gain; or accidental deaths that are quick and painless, but not intentional.
A kills another person B for the benefit of the second person, who actually does benefit from being killed".
Based on this, she offered a definition incorporating those elements, stating that euthanasia "must be defined as death that results from the intention of one person to kill another person, using the most gentle and painless means possible, that is motivated solely by the best interests of the person who dies.
Their definition specifically discounts fetuses to distinguish between abortions and euthanasia: In response, Wreen argued that euthanasia has to be voluntary, and that "involuntary euthanasia is, as such, a great wrong".
Hence, euthanasia can be voluntary only. In the definitions offered by Beauchamp and Davidson and, later, by Wreen, consent on the part of the patient was not considered as one of their criteria, although it may have been required to justify euthanasia. Voluntary euthanasia See also: Right to die Voluntary euthanasia is conducted with the consent of the patient.
Active voluntary euthanasia is legal in Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Passive voluntary euthanasia is legal throughout the US per Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Department of Health. When the patient brings about his or her own death with the assistance of a physician, the term assisted suicide is often used instead.
Assisted suicide is legal in Switzerland and the U. Non-voluntary euthanasia Non-voluntary euthanasia is conducted when the consent of the patient is unavailable. Examples include child euthanasiawhich is illegal worldwide but decriminalised under certain specific circumstances in the Netherlands under the Groningen Protocol.
Involuntary euthanasia Involuntary euthanasia is conducted against the will of the patient.
Passive and active euthanasia Voluntary, non-voluntary and involuntary types can be further divided into passive or active variants. While some authors consider these terms to be misleading and unhelpful, they are nonetheless commonly used. In some cases, such as the administration of increasingly necessary, but toxic doses of painkillersthere is a debate whether or not to regard the practice as active or passive.
Euthanasia, in the sense of the deliberate hastening of a person's death, was supported by SocratesPlato and Seneca the Elder in the ancient world, although Hippocrates appears to have spoken against the practicewriting "I will not prescribe a deadly drug to please someone, nor give advice that may cause his death" noting there is some debate in the literature about whether or not this was intended to encompass euthanasia.
In his work, Euthanasia medica, he chose this ancient Greek word and, in doing so, distinguished between euthanasia interior, the preparation of the soul for death, and euthanasia exterior, which was intended to make the end of life easier and painless, in exceptional circumstances by shortening life.
That the ancient meaning of an easy death came to the fore again in the early modern period can be seen from its definition in the 18th century Zedlers Universallexikon: According to Marx, a doctor had a moral duty to ease the suffering of death through encouragement, support and mitigation using medication.
Such an "alleviation of death" reflected the contemporary zeitgeistbut was brought into the medical canon of responsibility for the first time by Marx. Marx also stressed the distinction between the theological care of the soul of sick people from the physical care and medical treatment by doctors.
Thomas Aquinas opposed both and argued that the practice of euthanasia contradicted our natural human instincts of survival,  as did Francois Ranchin —a French physician and professor of medicine, and Michael Boudewijns —a physician and teacher.
Inthe publication of Caspar Questel's De pulvinari morientibus non-subtrahend, "On the pillow of which the dying should not be deprived"initiated debate on the topic. Questel described various customs which were employed at the time to hasten the death of the dying, including the sudden removal of a pillow, which was believed to accelerate deathand argued against their use, as doing so was "against the laws of God and Nature".
A similar use of chloroform was revealed by Joseph Bullar in However, in neither case was it recommended that the use should be to hasten death. In Samuel Williams, a schoolteacher, initiated the contemporary euthanasia debate through a speech given at the Birmingham Speculative Club in England, which was subsequently published in a one-off publication entitled Essays of the Birmingham Speculative Club, the collected works of a number of members of an amateur philosophical society.
That in all cases of hopeless and painful illness, it should be the recognized duty of the medical attendant, whenever so desired by the patient, to administer chloroform or such other anaesthetic as may by-and-bye supersede chloroform — so as to destroy consciousness at once, and put the sufferer to a quick and painless death; all needful precautions being adopted to prevent any possible abuse of such duty; and means being taken to establish, beyond the possibility of doubt or question, that the remedy was applied at the express wish of the patient.
Lionel Tollemache wrote in favour of euthanasia, as did Annie Besantthe essayist and reformer who later became involved with the National Secular Societyconsidering it a duty to society to "die voluntarily and painlessly" when one reaches the point of becoming a 'burden'.
Euthanasia in the United States Felix Adlercircathe first prominent American to argue for permitting suicide in cases of chronic illness The rise of the euthanasia movement in the United States coincided with the so-called Gilded Agea time of social and technological change that encompassed an "individualistic conservatism that praised laissez-faire economics, scientific methodand rationalism ", along with major depressionsindustrialisation and conflict between corporations and labour unions.
Felix Adler offered a similar approach, although, unlike Ingersoll, Adler did not reject religion. In fact, he argued from an Ethical Culture framework.Background. Capital punishment is the lawful infliction of death as a punishment and since ancient times it has been used for a wide variety of offences.
Oct 23, · "This is an extremely important distinction in the euthanasia debate. Generally speaking, opponents of euthanasia maintain that there is a clear moral distinction between merely allowing to die and actually causing or deliberately hastening someone's death.
[active euthanasia] and allowing to die [passive euthanasia] is still. The right to die is a concept based on the opinion that a human being is entitled to end his or her own life or to undergo voluntary initiativeblog.comsion of this right is often understood to mean that a person with a terminal illness should be allowed to end his own life or to use assisted suicide or to decline life-prolonging treatment.
The question of . a.m.-noon National Press Club Washington, D.C. Sponsored by The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, The Federalist Society, and The Constitution Project.
From the teenager who is asking her President to allow her to "rest" to the healthy woman who wanted to die with her sick husband, take a . A. AGS Ethics Committee, Physician-Assisted Suicide and Voluntary Active Euthanasia. Journal of American Geriatrics Society, May , 43(5)