Euthanasia Report

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  • BBA 2011-14

    Terminal Disease - Right to Die

    BY:

    Ishani Patel (0220111)

    SUBMITTED TO:

    Dr. Kamlesh Misra

    18thApril 2013

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    Contents

    Acknowledgement .......................................................................................................................... 2

    Introduction ..................................................................................................................................... 3

    The Ethics of Euthanasia ................................................................................................................ 4

    Why people want Euthanasia? ........................................................................................................ 4

    Forms of Euthanasia ....................................................................................................................... 5

    Active Euthanasia ........................................................................................................................ 5

    Passive Euthanasia ...................................................................................................................... 5

    Voluntary Euthanasia .................................................................................................................. 5

    Involuntary Euthanasia ............................................................................................................... 6

    Indirect Euthanasia ...................................................................................................................... 6

    Assisted Suicide ........................................................................................................................... 6

    Euthanasia Pros and Cons ............................................................................................................... 7

    Euthanasia and Technology ............................................................................................................ 8

    Religion and Euthanasia .................................................................................................................. 9

    Buddhism .................................................................................................................................... 9

    Christian ...................................................................................................................................... 9

    Hinduism ................................................................................................................................... 10

    Islam .......................................................................................................................................... 11

    Alternative solution to Euthanasia ............................................................................................... 12

    Impact on Society .......................................................................................................................... 14

    Cases on Euthanasia...................................................................................................................... 15

    Conclusion ..................................................................................................................................... 17

    Harvard Referencing ..................................................................................................................... 18

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    Acknowledgement

    The satisfaction and euphoria that accompany the successful completion of any task would be

    incomplete without the mention of the people who made it possible, whose constant guidance

    and encouragement crowned my efforts with success.

    I would like to express a great appreciation to my Vice Chancellor and Mentor Dr. Kamlesh

    Misra for his constant guidance and support. I take this opportunity to express my profound

    gratitude and deep regards for the valuable and constructive suggestions during the planning and

    development of this project. I would also like to express my deep gratitude for the patient

    guidance, enthusiastic encouragement and useful critiques of this project. The willingness to give

    his time so generously has been very much appreciated.

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    Introduction

    Euthanasia is a broad term for mercy killingtaking the life of a hopelessly ill or injured

    individual in order to end his or her suffering. Mercy killing represents a serious ethical

    dilemma. People do not always die well. Some afflictions cause people to suffer through extreme

    physical pain in their last days, and euthanasia may seem like a compassionate way of ending

    this pain. Other patients may request euthanasia to avoid the weakness and loss of mental

    faculties that some diseases cause, and many feel these wishes should be respected.

    But euthanasia also seems to contradict one of the most basic principles of morality, which is

    that killing is wrong. Viewed from a traditional Judeo-Christian point of view, euthanasia is

    murder and a blatant violation of the biblical commandment Thou shalt not kill. From a secular

    perspective, one of the principal purposes of law is to uphold the sanctity of human life.

    Euthanasia is so controversial because it pits the plight of suffering, dying individuals against

    religious beliefs, legal tradition, and, in the case of physician-assisted death, medical ethics.

    This moral dilemma is not new. The term euthanasia is derived from ancient Greek, and means

    good death. But while the debate over mercy killing has ancient origins, many observers

    believe that it is harder today to achieve a good death than ever before. Advances in medicine

    have increased peoples health and life span, but they have also greatly affected the dying

    process. For example, in the early twentieth century the majority of Americans died at home,

    usually victims of pneumonia or influenza. Today most people die in the hospital, often from

    degenerative diseases like cancer that may cause a painful, lingering death.

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    The Ethics of Euthanasia

    Euthanasia raises a number of agonizing moral dilemmas:

    Is it ever right to end the life of a terminally ill patient who is undergoing severe pain and

    suffering?

    Under what circumstances can euthanasia be justifiable, if at all?

    Is there a moral difference between killing someone and letting them die?

    At the heart of these arguments are the different ideas that people have about the meaning and

    value of human existence.

    Should human beings have the right to decide on issues of life and death?

    There are also a number of arguments based on practical issues.

    Some people think that euthanasia shouldn't be allowed, even if it was morally right,

    because it could be abused and used as a cover for murder.

    Why people want Euthanasia?

    Most people think unbearable pain is the main reason people seek euthanasia, but some surveys

    in the USA and the Netherlands showed that less than a third of requests for euthanasia were

    because of severe pain.

    Terminally ill people can have their quality of life severely damaged by physical conditions such

    as incontinence, nausea and vomiting, breathlessness, paralysis and difficulty in swallowing.

    Psychological factors that cause people to think of euthanasia include depression, fearing loss of

    control or dignity, feeling a burden, or dislike of being dependent.

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    Forms of Euthanasia

    Euthanasia comes in several different forms, each of which brings a different set of rights and

    wrongs.

    Active Euthanasia

    In active euthanasia a person directly and deliberately causes the patient's death. In passive

    euthanasia they don't directly take the patient's life, they just allow them to die.

    This is a morally unsatisfactory distinction, since even though a person doesn't 'actively kill' the

    patient, they are aware that the result of their inaction will be the death of the patient.

    Active euthanasia is when death is brought about by an act - for example when a person is killed

    by being given an overdose of pain-killers.

    Passive Euthanasia Passive euthanasia is when death is brought about by an omission - i.e. when someone lets the

    person die. This can be by withdrawing or withholding treatment:

    Withdrawing treatment: for example, switching off a machine that is keeping a person

    alive, so that they die of their disease.

    Withholding treatment: for example, not carrying out surgery that will extend life for a

    short time.

    Traditionally, passive euthanasia is thought of as less bad than active euthanasia. But some

    people think active euthanasia is morally better.

    Voluntary Euthanasia Voluntary euthanasia occurs at the request of the person who dies.

    Non-voluntary euthanasia occurs when the person is unconscious or otherwise unable (for

    example, a very young baby or a person of extremely low intelligence) to make a meaningful

    choice between living and dying, and an appropriate person takes the decision on their behalf.

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    Non-voluntary euthanasia also includes cases where the person is a child who is mentally and

    emotionally able to take the decision, but is not regarded in law as old enough to take such a

    decision, so someone else must take it on their behalf in the eyes of the law.

    Involuntary Euthanasia Involuntary eu