In the last stages of cancer, where the pain may become excruciating, doctors may give the patient a choice for euthanasia. Euthanasia, also known as “mercy killing, is the act of killing someone painlessly, especially to relieve suffering from an incurable disease.”
A physician well known for his use of mercy killing was Dr. Jack Kevorkian. He was convicted of homicide and sentenced to 8 years in prison when he failed to notify other physicians of his use of euthanasia on a patient.
Ironically, there are many arguments that euthanasia is a brutal way to end life, due to the fact that it is not a natural way of death. Euthanasia has also been highly criticized and debated because it has been thought to be no different than murder. For the patients, or the “victims” themselves, euthanasia may be a source for an easy, painless death. However it is, many times, the source of a heated debate between politicians, physicians, everyday citizens, and their loved ones, whom they believe died an involuntary death.
On one side of the argument, there are those who strongly disapprove the use of euthanasia due to the fact that it is a potential threat to everyday civilians who go to their physicisians for a cure, and are misunderstood.
Those who agree with the use of mercy killing are usually the patients themselves or people who have no connection with the people diagnosed with euthanasia.
A survey conducted in 1995 revealed “46% of people agreed with the use of euthanasia.” However, the words for some questionnaires had the words rearranged and the results differed as a consequence. For instance, one question that had asked: “Do you favor a law allowing terminally ill adult patients to obtain physician-assisted suicide?” received higher votes, while another question: “Do you favor a law allowing a physician’s prescription for lethal drugs to end life?” Which was merely a rephrased question, had lower votes for the continuation of euthanasia.
Euthanasia can be categorized into two different categories, “voluntary passive euthanasia” and “involuntary active euthanasia.” Voluntary euthanasia is when the patient requests that action be taken to end his life, or that life-saving treatment be stopped, with full knowledge that this will lead to his death. Involuntary euthanasia is when a patient’s life is ended without the patient’s knowledge and consent. This may mean that the patient is kicking and screaming and begging for life, but in practice today it usually means that the patient is unconscious, unable to