Euthanasia: A Confounding and Intricate Issue

Title: Euthanasia: A Confounding and Intricate Issue
Authors: Marcoux, Isabelle
Date: 2011-11-30
Abstract: Euthanasia: A Confounding and Intricate Issue is a chapter in Euthanasia - The "Good Death" Controversy in Humans and Animals, edited by Josef Kuře (2011) and published online by InTech. Euthanasia is still illegal in most countries. Nevertheless it is one of the most-debated ethical issues in recent decades, as revealed by the considerable number of scientific publications, the media coverage of specific cases, and proposed legislation in many countries. One of the most significant challenge in order to have an informed debate on this issue is to define euthanasia It is often associated with “wanting to die with dignity”, “not wanting to be kept alive against one’s wishes”, “not wanting to suffer”, and “wanting to die rather than live in a certain condition”. Among members of the public and even health care practitioners, the term is used to refer to situations ranging from the last injection allowing a person to pass from life; to death in a context of incurable illness through withholding treatment that would do more harm than good (futile treatment) and withdrawing life support that keeps the person alive (mechanical ventilation, feeding and hydration tubes); to relieving the pain and other symptoms of persons at the end of life whose next breath may well be their last. This chapter delineates what is meant by the term euthanasia, and to see how the various interpretations of this term lead to confusion and misunderstanding that often render debate pointless. Part 2 describes what euthanasia is now considered to consist in, and puts it in perspectives with other types of end-of-life decisions that characteristically arise in medical practice. Part 3 lists studies that have attempted to clarify people’s understandings of euthanasia and particularly in relation to other end-of-life practices. Part 4 discusses the interpersonal, societal and political issues raised by these varied understandings of euthanasia according to various groups.
CollectionIRSP - Publications // IPH - Publications
Libre accès uOttawa - Publications // uOttawa Open Access - Publications