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physician assisted suicide; euthanasia

Course Code
Donald Ainslie

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Bioethics Lecture
November 29, 2010
Physician-Assisted Suicide
Eu (well) + thanatos (death) – is a good death
Active vs. passive [active is when the doctor takes positive steps towards causing
the death of the patient such as injecting a patient with sodium chloride whereas
passive is things such as DNR
oKilling vs. letting die
Volunt ary vs. involuntary
oVoluntary: patient consents to whatever treatment is being done
oInvolun tary: patient is not in a situation where they can consent for
treatment or lack of treatment that leads to their death
Passive Involunt ary:
pulling the plug”
now recognized to be legitimate
but can also be illegitimate
futility”- post-poning t he inevitable
Passive Volunt ary Euthanasia
refusing life-sustaining treatment
can be legitimate
ex. Not wanting food or water
Active Involun tary Euthanasia
some cases are clearly wrong: murder
controversy: compare treatment of pets [putting them down] or terminal sedation
case of incompetence
Active Voluntary Euthanasia
physician-assisted suicide
intense controversy in past 20 years
Currentselect committee on dying with dign ity” in Quebec
Sue Rodr iguez
Diagnosed with Lou Gehr ig’s Disease in 1991 at age 40
Requested to the courts t hat law against assisted suicide by struck down
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