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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Euthanasia (from the Greek ευθανασία meaning "good death": ευ-, eu- (well or good) + θάνατος, thanatos (death)) refers to the practice of ending a life in a painless manner. According to the House of Lords Select Committee on Medical Ethics, the precise definition of euthanasia is "a deliberate intervention undertaken with the express intention of ending a life, to relieve intractable suffering".[1]


Classification of euthanasia


Voluntary euthanasia

Euthanasia conducted with consent is termed voluntary euthanasia.

Involuntary euthanasia

Euthanasia conducted without consent is termed involuntary euthanasia. Involuntary euthanasia is conducted where an individual makes a decision for another person incapable of doing so.

Active or passive

Both voluntary and involuntary euthanasia can be conducted passively or actively. A number of authors consider these terms to be misleading and unhelpful.[1]

Passive euthanasia

Passive euthanasia entails the withholding of common treatments, such as antibiotics, necessary for the continuance of life. Whether the administration of increasingly necessary, albeit toxic doses of opioid analgesia is regarded as active or passive euthanasia is a matter of moral interpretation, but in order to pacify doctors' consciences, it is usually regarded as a passive measure.[1]

Active euthanasia

Active euthanasia entails the use of lethal substances or forces to kill and is the most controversial means. An individual may use a euthanasia machine to perform active voluntary euthanasia on himself / herself.


  1. ^ a b c Harris, NM. (Oct 2001). "The euthanasia debate.". J R Army Med Corps 147 (3): 367–70. PMID 11766225.  

See also


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