EUTHANASIAEtymology: eu = good or happy thanatos = death Meaning: An action or an omission which of itself or by intention causes death, in order that all suffering may in this way be eliminated. Main Distinctions:• Active (positive or direct)• Passive (negative or indirect)
Active = directly willed or some means are used to terminate a person’s life for merciful reasons. It is also called “mercy killing”. Maybe voluntary or nonvoluntary• voluntary = requested by the patient• nonvoluntary = when others choose death for the patient
Passive = it is allowing a terminally ill person to die. Maybe voluntary or nonvoluntary• voluntary = requested by the patient• nonvoluntary = when others make the decision for the patientOrdinary and Extra ordinary means of treatment Ordinary means• also called proportionate or obligatory means.
Proportionate means are those that in thejudgment of the patient offer a reasonable hopeof benefit and do not entail an excessive burdenor impose excessive expense on the family or the community
Extra Ordinary means• also called disproportionate or optional means.• those that in the patient’s judgment do not offera reasonable hope of benefit or if ever there ishope, the possibility of benefit is so little comparedto the excessive expense on the family or thecommunity.
OrthothanasiaEtymology: correct dying It is the same as passive euthanasia. It isallowing a person to die a dignified and naturaldeath. DysthanasiaEtymology: means faulty or imperfect death. It is the medical process through which themoment of death is postponed by all meansavailable. It may be considered as an undueprolongation of death.
Arguments in favor of active euthanasia (mercy killing)• compassion for the suffering person the intention is to end the “unbearable suffering” of a dying person.• quality-of-life argument based on the assumption that there are people who have the right to judge whether or not a person is living a “quality” life or a person’s life may be terminated or prolonged depending on its “value”.
Church teaching on the morality of Euthanasia Whatever its motives and means are,active euthanasia is morally unacceptable. Active voluntary euthanasia constitutes suicideActive non-voluntary euthanasia constitutes murder
Discontinuing medical procedure that are burdensome, dangerous, extraordinary, or disproportionate to the expected outcome canbe legitimate, it is the refusal of “overzealous” treatment. Here one does not will to cause death; one’s inability to impede it is merelyaccepted. The decisions should be made by the patient if he/she is competent and able or, if not, by those legally entitled to act for the patient, whose reasonable will and legitimate interests must always be respected (CCC #2278)
Even if death is thought imminent, the ordinary care owed to a sick person cannot belegitimately interrupted. The use of painkillers to alleviate the sufferings of the dying, even at the risk of shortening their days, can be morally in conformity with human dignity ifdeath is not willed as either an end or a means, but only foreseen and tolerated as inevitable.Palliative care is a special form of disinterested charity. As such it should be encouraged. (CCC #2279).