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The debate around euthanasia

Euthanasia is a process that is practiced in healthcare to help a patient that intentionally decide to end their life to relieve them from pain and suffering. The provision allows the patient to take a voluntary decision to end their life. So that it can free themselves from the pain and suffering there are going through. Different countries have different types of laws for the process of Euthanasia, however, all kinds of the law state a similar process of deliberately intervening in the treatment of a patient with the intention of ending life. This is a process of ending the life of a patient by the doctor at the request of the patient to help him get relief from pain or suffering. The process of euthanasia is also known as an assisted suicide or termination of the life of a person on request and permission. However, the debate around euthanasia is long-going and there are certainly various points to back down both the arguments.

Some of the researchers have identified Euthanasia as a way of intentionally ending up one’s life and some have termed it as a type of suicide. However, the process of Euthanasia is not considered lawfully correct in all the countries. Attempting euthanasia carries a jail sentence that implements this process in their clinical role. This is because the process is considered morally wrong stating that no one has the right to end their life. In the United States, it is seen that this law varies from one state to another. This has made Euthanasia a highly controversial topic that needs attention. 

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Forms of Euthanasia

Euthanasia is of varied types and broadly classified into voluntary, non-voluntary and involuntary euthanasia. Further, there are passive and active euthanasia depending on the speed of euthanasia. Each of these forms has different processes and objectives to be attained. 

Voluntary Euthanasia

When euthanasia is conducted in a clinical setting with the consent of the patient it is known as voluntary euthanasia. Such types of euthanasia are legal in some countries such as Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Switzerland and some states in the world such as Oregon and Washington. It is the doctor that takes permission from the patient after they have achieved untreatable condition.

Non-voluntary Euthanasia

When euthanasia is conducted without the consent of the patient after seeing their current health condition. In such type of euthanasia, the patient is not in a condition to give any consent and the decision lies on the doctor. The decision is made effectively by an appropriate and knowledgeable person of that disease or medical condition on behalf of the patient. Based on the quality of life and suffering the doctor treating the medical issue take the decision according to their knowledge and experience that the patient might not survive further. Such type of euthanasia is considered illegal in all countries. 

Involuntary Euthanasia

In this type of euthanasia, the patient is able to provide consent for his condition and end his life. They either do not want to die or they were not asked about any such option. Such kind of euthanasia is usually termed as murder, as it is performed against the will of the patient and does not confirm that the patient is unable to give the consent. 

Passive and Active Euthanasia

Active Euthanasia

Active euthanasia accounts for death by lethal substances or forcefully injected by the doctor.

Passive Euthanasia

Such type of euthanasia is performed when the life-sustaining treatment in a clinical setting is withheld. However, in such type of euthanasia, the life of the people does not end. 

Active Euthanasia for terminally ill patients

The euthanasia process is usually conducted for terminal illness or end-stage disease with the intention that it cannot be cured or treated further. Such people are expected to die over time, as the illness is on the stage that cannot be treated. The type of deliberate ending the life occurs when the disease will progress over time until it reaches death and there is no treatment. The life expectancy for a terminal person is usually estimated roughly without any standardized life expectancy.

However, it is usually measured by the chronic disease that is affected and cannot be treated. Even though the end of life of terminally ill patients is done with permission and the patient is aware of the oncoming deaths, yet, there are arguments regarding whether applying euthanasia in such a terminally ill patient is allowed or not. The argument is based on the type of euthanasia being applied and the extent of emergency of applying such deliberate end of life process to terminally ill patient. 

Terminally ill patients are ones that lose all types of expectation of being saved and leading a normal life again. They doubt their ability to survive for a longer time of their life in a healthier way. Certain type of people experience health deterioration over time and no longer has chance of enjoying their life once again. Depending on such an issue the patient chooses to die, as it only has the chance to suffer over time. Such type of situation has made euthanasia a legalized process in the clinical setting to handle ill patients. However, opponents of this process believe euthanasia is a type of physician-assisted suicide, which carries a negative connotation for many. Such type of opponents have made euthanasia as one of the most controversial issues in medical terms. 

Euthanasia in countries

In Australia, Euthanasia is illegal in all Australian states. The authorities can charge the involved person with manslaughter, murder or assisting suicide. However, assisted suicide is legal for the state of Victoria, where VAD is lawful. On 10th December 2019, the Western Australian parliament passed Voluntary assistant Dying bill. VAD is expected to commence by mid-2021.

In India, both abetment of suicide, as well as attempt to suicide, comes under criminal offense. There have been the situation before to uphold the process of the right to die for the people. The accused in the clinical setting appealed to the Supreme Court and contended that such type of policy of “right to die” should be included in Article 21. However, the court held that Article 21 holds the right to life. Depending on this it is stated that euthanasia is invalid and illegal. With the effective implementation of euthanasia, it will be seen that the right to die with dignity will spread in the society and people with incurable diseases will be easily disposed of the civilized society with considering their condition and their rights.

Further, according to the Constitution of India “right to life” is a natural right that is embodied in Article 21, whereas the suicide is unnatural process and termination of life. Thus, the state only has the duty to protect the life of the people and the physician to take care of the patients instead of ending their life. Based on this fact the process of euthanasia or end to life for terminally ill patients is considered illegal. Moreover, in few countries, the process of euthanasia is legalized such as Holland that has led to a severe decline in the quality of care for such terminally ill patients due to a reduction in the investment by the state in the health sector. 

However, the people practicing palliative care contradict this view and state that palliative care aims at offering relief to patients suffering from distressing symptoms and pain.

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