Euthanasia (Part 1)

in health •  last year 

For those who know what it means they can know how controversial this issue is in society, in fact even in some social sectors it can be considered a taboo.

The term euthanasia comes from the Greek "eu" and "thanatos", which means "good death"

Euthanasia is the action or omission used to accelerate the death of a terminally ill patient, with their consent, with the intention of avoiding pain and suffering. Euthanasia is associated with the end of life without suffering.

Its specific definition varies depending on the source, for example:

  • According to the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE): euthanasia aims to avoid unbearable suffering or artificial prolongation of the life of a patient. Euthanasia can be performed with or without the patient's consent.

  • For the World Medical Association (AMM): Euthanasia is the deliberate act of ending the life of a patient, even if by choice or at the request of family members, is contrary to ethics. This does not prevent the doctor from respecting the patient's desire to let the natural process of death run its course in the terminal phase of his illness.

  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO): The definitions of euthanasia are not exact and may vary from person to person, but they have several elements in common. Most commentators restrict their description to direct or "active" euthanasia, which can be divided into three categories:

  1. The intentional homicide of those who have expressed, freely and with full competence, the desire to be helped to die.
  2. Professionally assisted suicide
  3. The intentional death of newborns with congenital anomalies that may or may not be a threat to life.

Classification or forms of application of euthanasia:

In the Anglo-Saxon context, there is a distinction between euthanasia as action and euthanasia as omission (letting die). Its equivalent would be active euthanasia and passive euthanasia, respectively. The positive and negative ratings are also used, almost synonymously.

However, the Collegial Medical Organization of Spain and other institutions do not accept the terminological distinction between active and passive. They consider that euthanasia is always deontologically condemnable, and that it is different from the medical act of suspending a useless treatment.

Direct Euthanasia: Advance the time of death in case of an incurable disease. This in turn has two forms:

  • Active: It consists in provoking death directly. It can be resorted to drugs that in overdose generate deadly effects.

  • Passive: The treatment of a specific nosological process (for example a bronchopneumonia), or feeding by any means, is omitted or suspended, with which the end of life is precipitated. It is a death by omission.

Indirect euthanasia: It is the one that is verified when they are carried out, with therapeutic intent, procedures that can produce death as a secondary effect. For example, the administration of narcotic analgesics to relieve pain. These, as an indirect and unintended effect, cause a decrease in the state of consciousness and possible abbreviation of the survival period. Here the intention, without a doubt, is not to shorten life but to alleviate suffering, and the other is a predictable but not persecuted consequence. So enter what could be called a problem of double effect.

There is still a lot to develop on this topic so in the next post this topic will be continued.

Links of interest:
https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eutanasia
http://www.monografias.com/trabajos7/eutan/eutan.shtml
http://www.wma.net/es/30publications/10policies/e13/
https://web.archive.org/web/20070428155500/http://www.informarn.nl/temasholanda/Eutanasia/act070330_eutanasia
https://web.archive.org/web/20090328101506/http://www.aceprensa.com/articulos/2007/oct/03/la-eutanasia-una-solucion-anticuada/

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