Euthanasia's definition has changed many times over the years. The basic definition means, painlessly putting to death or failing to prevent death from natural causes in cases of terminal illness or irreversible coma. It came to be used first, as a term descriptive of an easy death. Now it describes the actual medical deed necessary to make death easier. Today is it most commonly known as mercy killing.
Passive Euthanasia is the action of withdrawing or withholding the means of maintaining or prolonging life; for example, removing a respirator from a patient who cannot breathe without assistance. By the end of the 20th century passive euthanasia was said to be a common practice among America’s hospitals and physicians.
There are two types of Active Euthanasia, voluntary and involuntary. Voluntary Active Euthanasia is mercy killing administered to the patient who has requested it. Involuntary Active Euthanasia is mercy killing administered to the patient without their informed consent; for example, babies and incompetent adults.
Closely related is the practice of Assisted Suicide. There are two assisted suicide procedures. The first is Assisted Suicide, this is when someone, usually a doctor, a member of the family or close friend, provides the patient with the knowledge and means to take his or her own life. The life-ending procedure is then carried out under that person's guidance. Physician Assisted Suicide a doctor acts directly to cause the death of a terminally ill patient, most commonly by lethal injection or asphyxiation.
Many people have their own opinion of what euthanasia means. Euthanasia's definition will largely depend on whether the individual agrees or disagrees with its practice.
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