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Euthanasia : ‘Merciful’ Terminatin

'Should the physician ever speed the end and so reduce the patient's suffering? No. Custom, tradition, experience, social sanction, law//, and religion are unanimous in this, and rightly so. Euthanasia would be a long step backward in civilization.' - Richard A. Kern, 1951

Euthanasia is defined as ‘the intentional killing by act or omission of a dependant human being for his or her alleged benefit’. It is also referred to as ‘mercy killing’. The word ‘Euthanasia’ takes its origin from the Greek words, ‘eu’ meaning ‘good’ and ‘thanatos’ meaning ‘death’.

Euthanasia is voluntary, when the subject puts forth a request seeking to end his life. If a surrogate, who is a close relative or a friend takes the decision on behalf of the individual, who is either too young or is mentally challenged, it is non voluntary euthanasia.

Involuntary euthanasia, on the other hand, is carried out on an unwilling individual. Assisted Suicide, which is also a form of mercy killing, takes place when a person, who intends to eliminate himself, is abetted by a third party, usually a doctor, who provides the guidance, to carry out the task effectively.

Euthanasia is propagated by its advocates, as a permanent solution for people tormented by chronic pain, and whose quality of life, and thereby dignity, is compromised. The advocates also point out, that people suffering from degenerative diseases like Huntingdon’s Chorea, AIDS, or Alzheimer’s, can attain ‘deliverance’ through euthanasia.

However, several theories are forwarded against these killings from various quarters. Brain washing a chronically- dependant person to resort to euthanasia, cost containment of health- care provided to terminally ill individuals, and the misuse of euthanasia by its perpetrators, are some of the reasons that euthanasia is not yet legalized in most countries.

The state of Oregon in the USA, The Netherlands, Belgium and Australi
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