Facts About Euthanasia

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Euthanasia, in easy words is defined as an act of ending someone’s life by a giving a fatal injection or withdrawing all forms of medical treatment provided that the patient is already destined to die. The word euthanasia is derived from the Greek word which means “good health”. Euthanasia and its legality has always been a matter of debate among people. It is a practice that involves consent of the patient or closely related family member. The aim is to relieve the patient of physical torture he is enduring due to a lethal disease or the treatment.

Few facts that one must know in his argument against or in favor of euthanasia are as follows.

Fact 1:

Euthanasia is regarded as voluntary when the patient himself enduringly requests to help him die whereas involuntary euthanasia is without the consent of the patient in case he is unable to speak, is in coma or mental trauma and one of his closest relative takes the decision for him.

Fact 2:

There is also a difference between passive and active euthanasia. Active is when some drugs are used to end a person’s life with the aid of a physician while passive euthanasia is when one stops taking the required action to maintain the patient’s health i.e. by preventing medication, food and water.

Fact 3:

There are two other terms commonly used for euthanasia; Physician-assisted suicide and assisted suicide. The first one is attempted with the help of a doctor who intentionally increases the prescribed dose of the medicine whereas the latter is when the person himself takes the help of some other person, guides and assists him to bring his demise.

Fact 4:

It is legal in Netherlands to practice physician-assisted suicide, in fact about 9% of the deaths in Netherland in the year 1990 where due to physician-assisted suicides. This also includes infants and child who are born with extreme disabilities that it will be difficult for them to survive anyway.

Fact 5:

However, except for few states, euthanasia in any form is considered illegal in majority of states. There are over 50 states that prohibit euthanasia under homicide laws and even more states where assisted suicide is strictly prohibited and might even be considered a murder.

Fact 6:

There has also been a frequent debate that practicing euthanasia in cancer patients is not just wrong but illogical. The unbearable pain in 95% of the cancers can be controlled through medications that are now readily available whereas the in 5% cases it can be brought down to a tolerable level.

Fact 7:

The most common argument that is put forward by those in favor of euthanasia is that it frees the patient of his vulnerable state and it is morally right to relieve a person of such excruciating torture. There are many contemporary philosophers who also defend euthanasia and present it as a morally defensible matter.

Fact 8:

A survey done by 405 Dutch doctors clearly revealed how the rules set for euthanasia have been clearly ignored in the euthanasia practices. They showed that there were 20% cases were the patients did not request to die and 17% other cases where euthanasia was performed despite the availability of treatments. Reality up to today remain that majority of the cases of euthanasia either goes unreported or unchecked.

Fact 9:

The practice of euthanasia is also done on pet animals, especially with dogs. When the dog is terminally ill and incapable of enjoying the rest of his life and the suffering is too much to talk, the veterinarian might provide you with an option of euthanasia to relieve the dog of its physical suffering.

Fact 10:

Approximately 1.2 million dogs that enter the animal shelters nationwide are euthanized.

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