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Bioethics Final Exam.docx

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University of Ottawa

Question 1Euthanasia is a very hot topic in philosophy and finding the right moral solution is difficult Passive euthanasia on the other hand is when the doctor indirectly kills the patient by pulling the plug on the respirator causing the death of a terminally ill patient These two types of euthanasia are referred to as killing for active and letting die for passive euthanasia In his article Daniel Callahan strongly objects to active euthanasiaActive euthanasia is when a doctor directly kills a patient using a lethal injection Callahan believes that active euthanasia eg lethal injection is the direct action that causes the death of the patient He argues that people confuse causality the reality of a situation and culpability the moral responsibility of the outcome Callahan argues that the act of letting die for example the doctor has pulled the plug is more natural than killing a patient with a lethal injection In both cases the patient dies However the death of the patient on life support can be attributed to a natural cause eg fatal disease which will kill the patient sooner or later On the other hand the cause of death by lethal injection can kill a healthy and a sick person can be attributed to the doctor It is the introduction of something foreign into the person to cause death He continues to say that we confuse the word killing with a death by natural causes or by human action For active euthanasia the doctor is the direct cause of the patients death and should be morally responsible for it However for passive euthanasia the disease is the cause of death In his article James Rachelss does not provide a convincing response to CallahanRachelss believes that active euthanasia is morally the same as passive euthanasiaHe attempts two clarify his position by using two examplesIn the first example a child is drowned to death by a person In the second one the child is drowned to death accidentally while the person is watching Rachel points is that both people in the story those who killed and those who watched
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