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Feb 3

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McMaster University
Religious Studies
Sherry Smith

RELIG ST 2N03- February 3 rd Euthanasia - Illegal in us and Canada - Distinguished from withdrawing or withholding treatment - Literal translation is happy death - The act of deliberately causing the death of another for reasons that are believed to be beneficial o Dying without pain or suffering o Killing someone who would otherwise suffer from incurable painful disease - Actions performed to speed up death - Two basic types: o Active: actively taking steps with the intent of ending another’s life  Person is suffering greatly, has no chance of recovering • Lethal injection, carbon monoxide o Passive:  Withholding necessary life-sustaining measures for the same purpose • Deciding whether or not to place a person with massive brain trauma on life support system • Decision to not treat pneumonia or infection in immobilized and cognitively impaired patients • Some people argue this is just allowing nature to take its course - Three categories: o Non-voluntary  Deliberate administration of life-shortening substances with the intent of ending the life of a person who is not capable of making this choice for himself or herself • Surrogate decision maker, will ask physician for assistance to end another person’s life o Involuntary  Act of ending another’s life against their will and without their consent • Used by nazi regime to eliminate undesirables • Vernichten lebensunwerten lebens (action t4) o Nazi doctors exterminated “valueless life” o German citizens, non jewish, invalids or unable to care for themselves o Large portion of institutionalized people o Murders were disguised as euthanasia o Nazis said people were being put out of misery for their own good • First victim was Gerhard Herbert kertschmar o Baby o Born with severe disabilities o After receiving request from parents, hitler authorized one of his own physicians to have the child killed o Dr. Karl Brandt  Action t4, organizer and hitler’s private physician • People killed by starvation, medication or placed in gas chamber • People were not terminally ill or in pain, no reason for them to be killed  Eugenics • Social movement, claimed to improve genetic features of human populations • Through selective breeding and sterilization • Built on: It is possible to distinguish between superior and inferior elements of society • Before what happened in nazi Germany • Euthanasia favoured by those who thought eugenics did not go far enough • Harry j haselden o Combined eugenics and euthanasia o Refused to perform surgery on babies who had birth defects, allowing them to die o Asked other physicians to join him o Physicians that did perfrom surgeries on these infants, were
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