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Brief Look at Euthanasia

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Politics

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Brief Look at Euthanasia


Brief Look at Euthanasia



Euthanasia is one of the most acute and uncomfortable

contemporary problems in medical ethics. Is Euthanasia Ethical? The

case for euthanasia rests on one main fundamental moral principle:

mercy.



It is not a new issue; euthanasia has been discussed-and

practised-in both Eastern and Western cultures from the earliest

historical times to the present. But because of medicine's new

technological capacities to extend life, the problem is much more.

Euthanasia is a way of granting mercy-both by direct killing and by

letting the person die. This principle of mercy establishes two

component duties:



1. the duty not to cause further pain or suffering; and

2. the duty to act to end pain or suffering already occurring.



Under the first of these, for a physician or other caregiver

to extend mercy to a suffering patient may mean to refrain from

procedures that cause further suffering-provided, of course, that the

treatment offers the patient no overriding benefits. The ph s

performed even though a patient's survival is highly unlikely;

although patients in arrest are unconscious at the time of

resuscitation, it can be a brutal procedure, and if the patient

regains consciousness, its aftermath can involve considerable pain.

In many such cases, the patient will die whether or not the treatments

are performed. In some cases, however, the principle of mercy may also

demand withholding treatment that could extend the patient's life if

the treatment is itself painful or discomf The principle of mercy may

also demand letting die in a still stronger sense. Under its second

component, the principle asserts a duty to act to end suffering that

is already occurring. Medicine already honours this duty through its

various techniques Ending the pain, though with it the ...

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