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Arguments for and against active euthanasia

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Levi C.
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case study
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  1. Introduction
  2. Active Euthanasia
  3. Arguments against active euthanasia
  4. Conclusion

Euthanasia is often referred to as mercy killing and has been undertaken in the medical profession for years to put patients with long illnesses out of suffering. Active euthanasia on the other hand, means that another person other than the patient intentionally ends a patient's life, for instance, through lethal injections. This paper seeks to outline arguments for and against active euthanasia through supporting research and evidence for each argument. Throughout history, the legal systems have been against active euthanasia by medical practitioners. Various concerns have been raised regarding this issue and its effect to the medical community.

Both legal concerns and moral responsibilities have been raised regarding active euthanasia. The legal system has also had some justification in legalizing active euthanasia and society on the other hand has argued on the ethical obligation to have a responsible and compassionate community (Sanbar, 2007).

Euthanasia can be considered in two main contexts. Passive euthanasia is where patients themselves or their close family members decide to forfeit medical treatment which is necessary to sustain life. Under passive euthanasia, the medical condition affecting the patient is left to take its toll by abstinence of life supporting medical treatment.

[...] Voluntary Euthanasia and the Common Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press Sanbar, S Sandy. Legal Medicine. Amsterdam: Elsevier Health Sciences, 2007. [...]


[...] Many confuse active euthanasia with physician assisted suicide. In physician assisted suicide, a medical practitioner or physician indirectly assist by availing a lethal means for a patient to end their own life. For active euthanasia, the physician is directly involved, normally through administration of lethal injections or removal of life sustaining equipment such as feeding tubes from patient in comatose. The two practices are very similar as they are both voluntary and intentional. Active euthanasia is only performed where the patient is too weak or unable to end their life for one reason or another. [...]

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