An introduction to the history of euthanasia and assisted suicide

Euthanasia and Physician Assisted Suicide By: The term was later abused, when German physicians willingly participated in the killing of more thanhelpless people. Anyone that was physically disabled, had mental illness, babies born with birth defects, senile elderly, and even wounded German soldiers were all intentionally killed because of their disabilities 1,3,5.

An introduction to the history of euthanasia and assisted suicide

This article has been corrected. This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract Euthanasia or assisted suicide—and sometimes both—have been legalized in a small number of countries and states.

In all jurisdictions, laws and safeguards were put in place to prevent abuse and misuse of these practices. Prevention measures have included, among others, explicit consent by the person requesting euthanasia, mandatory reporting of all cases, administration only by physicians with the exception of Switzerlandand consultation by a second physician.

The present paper provides evidence that these laws and safeguards are regularly ignored and transgressed in all the jurisdictions and that transgressions are not prosecuted.

An introduction to the history of euthanasia and assisted suicide

Although the initial intent was to limit euthanasia and assisted suicide to a last-resort option for a very small number of terminally ill people, some jurisdictions now extend the practice to newborns, children, and people with dementia.

A terminal illness is no longer a prerequisite. Legalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide therefore places many people at risk, affects the values of society over time, and does not provide controls and safeguards. Euthanasia, physician-assisted suicide 1. The physician therefore administers the lethal substance.

In physician-assisted suicide pas on the other hand, a person self-administers a lethal substance prescribed by a physician.

To date, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg have legalized euthanasia 12. The laws in the Netherlands and Luxembourg also allow pas.

How does assisting with suicide affect physicians?

In the United States, the states of Oregon and Washington legalized pas in and respectively, but euthanasia remains illegal 3.

In the Netherlands, euthanasia and pas were formally legalized in after about 30 years of public debate 1. Despite opposition, including that from the Belgian Medical Association, Belgium legalized euthanasia in after about 3 years of public discourse that included government commissions.

The law was guided by the Netherlands and Oregon experiences, and the public was assured that any defects in the Dutch law would be addressed in the Belgian law. Luxembourg legalized euthanasia and pas in Switzerland is an exception, in that assisted suicide, although not formally legalized, is tolerated as a result of a loophole in a law dating back to the early s that decriminalizes suicide.

Euthanasia, however, is illegal 4. A person committing suicide may do so with assistance as long as the assistant has no selfish motives and does not stand to gain personally from the death. Unlike other jurisdictions that require euthanasia or assisted suicide to be performed only by physicians, Switzerland allows non-physicians to assist suicide.

In all these jurisdictions, safeguards, criteria, and procedures were put in place to control the practices, to ensure societal oversight, and to prevent euthanasia and pas from being abused or misused 5.

Some criteria and procedures are common across the jurisdictions; others vary from country to country 56. The extent to which these controls and safeguards have been able to control the practices and to avoid abuse merits closer inspection, particularly by jurisdictions contemplating the legalization of euthanasia and pas.

Voluntary, Written Consent In all jurisdictions, the request for euthanasia or pas has to be voluntary, well-considered, informed, and persistent over time. The requesting person must provide explicit written consent and must be competent at the time the request is made.

An introduction to the history of euthanasia and assisted suicide

Despite those safeguards, more than people in the Netherlands are euthanized involuntarily every year. Ina total of deaths by euthanasia or pas were reported, representing 1.

Protection of Conscience Project

More than people 0. For every 5 people euthanized, 1 is euthanized without having given explicit consent. Attempts at bringing those cases to trial have failed, providing evidence that the judicial system has become more tolerant over time of such transgressions 5.

In Belgium, the rate of involuntary and non-voluntary euthanasia deaths that is, without explicit consent is 3 times higher than it is in the Netherlands 89. Those findings accord with the results of a previous study in which 25 of non-sudden deaths had been the result of euthanasia without explicit consent 8.

Some proponents of euthanasia contend that the foregoing figures are misrepresentative, because many people may have at some time in their lives expressed a wish for or support of euthanasia, albeit not formally. The counterargument is that the legal requirement of explicit written consent is important if abuse and misuse are to be avoided.

After all, written consent has become essential in medical research when participants are to be subjected to an intervention, many of which pose far lesser mortality risks.

Recent history is replete with examples of abuse of medical research in the absence of explicit informed consent. Mandatory Reporting Reporting is mandatory in all the jurisdictions, but this requirement is often ignored 11 In Belgium, nearly half of all cases of euthanasia are not reported to the Federal Control and Evaluation Committee Legal requirements were more frequently not met in unreported cases than in reported cases: Only by Physicians The involvement of nurses gives cause for concern because all the jurisdictions, with the exception of Switzerland, require that the acts be performed only by physicians.Chronology of Assisted Dying in the U.S.

Share This. Share on facebook. Share on twitter. Share via email. Pre – First euthanasia bill drafted in Ohio. It does not succeed. Washington Initiative is filed, the first state voter referendum on the issue of voluntary euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide.

Euthanasia ppt 1. Euthanasia 2. Outlines: Introduction. History. Laws. Religions Cases. Conclusion. 3. History -It is believed that euthanasia started in ancient Greece and Rome around the fifth century B.C. However, people continued to reject euthanasia and assisted suicide.

• Sir Thomas More is often quoted as . Michael Manning, MD Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide: Killing or Caring?, - Voluntary Euthanasia Act Introduced in US Senate Nebraska Senator John Comstock introduces legislation called the Voluntary Euthanasia Act, which calls for the legalization of active euthanasia.

History of Euthanasia— Read this history of euthanasia in the United States highlights major court cases and legislation involving end-of-life issues. Physician-Assisted Suicide —Read this article by American Life League on the history of physician-assisted suicide and pro/con arguments against assisted suicide.

When discussing assisted suicide it is important to make the distinction between euthanasia and assisted suicide. Euthanasia is the intentionally administering medication to cause the patient's death and physician- assisted suicide is a physician providing medication interventions to a patient with the understanding that the patient intends to.

Euthanasia and Physician Assisted Suicide. Euthanasia and Physician Assisted Suicide Introduction The history of the debate for physician assisted suicide has been long, tracing back to /5(1).

A General History of Euthanasia | The Life Resources Charitable Trust