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The Practice of Euthanasia

There are moments in life when medicines cannot save the patient or relieve his pain. The healer is helpless. The patient confronts death or bears pain until he breathes his last. The most precious gift, human life, in such moments becomes a curse. Unable to see himself fail in his job and allow the patient bear this torture, the doctor proposes an option of providing a graceful and painless death. This is Euthanasia. Literally it means “Good Death”, and refers to be the practice of ending of a life without pain. In the year 2002, Holland became the first country in the world to legalize Euthanasia, shortly followed by Belgium.

The practice of Euthanasia is of two types. They are voluntary and involuntary. In voluntary Euthanasia, the patient is in his full senses and gives his consent to the doctor for carrying out the process. In involuntary Euthanasia, the patient do not remain in a conscious state. It is extremely difficult moment for the loved ones of the patient to take the decision. The doctor seeks the permission of the loved ones to carry out this process. The consent provided is in written, in the form of a documented statement.

The process consists primarily of two types. They are active and passive. Both these techniques are controversial. Active Euthanasia uses all deliberate means to take human life. It comes close to committing suicide and that is why it is controversial. Patients who suffer from diseases which have no cure or involve unavoidable and unbearable pain are provided this option. Euthanasia Machine is a device which allows a voluntary patient to take his life quickly experiencing very less pain. Passive Euthanasia process is the most accepted form. Here, doctor with consent of the patient’s dear ones, stops giving medicines to him. This is done in situations when giving the medicine may cause the patient’s death early or cause no change in his state. When it is apparent to the doctors that death of the patient is imminent, they remove the life support devices from his body, in the final moments. This practice makes Passive Euthanasia too, controversial.

The Subject is complicated. On one side, it deals with a noble intent. It is about ending misery from a person’s life and providing him peaceful death in his last moments. But the very process on the other hand, goes against the ethics of medical practice. Doctors take the Hippocratic Oath to give life and not take it. There are advancement in medical science and discovery of threats from unheard diseases too to deal. In light of these developments, has the moment arrived for the sacred Hippocratic Oath to be rewritten ?

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