Euthanasia Essay

1386 Words 6 Pages
Euthanasia, the act of relieving the prolonged pain and suffering of terminally ill patients by inducing death, has been the subject of controversy for sometime. Dying with dignity, the kind of end we hope for ourselves as well as others, has in some ways become more difficult. With the advancements in medicine having leaped forward within the last 20 years, prolonging life by means of technology has become common place in the medical community. These life-sustaining advances in treatments have brought up moral issues of whether it is the right of an individual to suppress his or her own life-sustaining treatment if they so desire. Our society has become a youth-worshipping society. It is almost as if we have taken on old-age and …show more content…
Passive euthanasia is seen as non-treatment of an illness, whereas the untreated disease or ailment is left alone so as to run rampid in the person and kill them. Also, withholding a respirator is also considered passive. Active is seen as intentionally performing an action such as administering a lethal dose of medication. Physicians who go about such actions usually inject a lethal dose of a drug called Curare.(Ogg 50) Bastian 3 Another form of active euthanasia would be removing a patient from a respirator with the intent that the patient will die. One such case would be that of Karen Ann Quinlan. The case of 21 year old Karen Ann Quinlan touched off a national debate about the care of the terminally ill. After Karen had been in a coma and attached to a respirator for more than six months, her parents sued for the right to have the artificial life support discontinued. The New Jersey Supreme Court authorized removal of the life support. Ironically, death never occurred. Karen miraculously continued to live, and was able to breathe without the support of the respirator.(Colen 7) Because of the irony that may occur with certain cases, such as that of Karen Ann Quinlan, questions arise as to what constitutes a person as dead. Brain death has been accepted as the medical basis for declaring a person dead. But as of now brain status does not yet specify criteria for establishing total brain death.(Colen 45) Physicians and nurses may demonstrate a sense of

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