Euthanasia: Map


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Euthanasia (from the Greek ευθανασία meaning "good death": ευ-, eu- (well or good) + θάνατος, thanatos (death)) refers to the practice of ending a life in a painless manner. According to the House of Lordsmarker Select Committee on Medical Ethics, the precise definition of euthanasia is "a deliberate intervention undertaken with the express intention of ending a life, to relieve intractable suffering".

Classification of euthanasia

Voluntary euthanasia

Euthanasia conducted with consent is termed voluntary euthanasia.

Involuntary euthanasia

Euthanasia conducted without consent is termed involuntary euthanasia. Involuntary euthanasia is conducted where an individual makes a decision for another person incapable of doing so.

Active or passive

Both voluntary and involuntary euthanasia can be conducted passively or actively. A number of authors consider these terms to be misleading and unhelpful. Passive euthanasia entails the withholding of common treatments (such as antibiotics, chemotherapy in cancer, or surgery) or the distribution of a medication (such as morphine) to relieve pain, knowing that it may also result in death (principle of double effect). Passive euthanasia is the most accepted form, and it is a common practice in most hospitals. Passive euthanasia may also entail the withdrawing of life support, which is more controversial. Active euthanasia entails the use of lethal substances or forces to kill and is the most controversial means. An individual may use a euthanasia machine to perform active voluntary euthanasia on himself / herself.


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