• Mercy killing or Assisted suicide
  • Physician assisted suicide is legal in some States of the US
  • Painless killing of a person who is suffering from incurable disease, senility, permanent damage to the brain which cannot be repaired or cured
  • Legally permitted in: USA, Uruguay, Poland, Australia, Switzerland, Nether lands
  • Not legalized in India
  • Active (Positive)euthanasia
  1. Act of commission
  2. Death induced by direct/indirect action
  3. legal in Netherlands and Belgium
  4. E.g. giving large dose of a drug that hastens death
Passive (Negative)euthanasia
  1. Act of omission
  2. No specific medicine or life supporting measures given
  3. Death induced by discontinuation of life sustaining measures
  4. legal in India
  5. E.g. stopping heart lung machines in a severely defective new born, disconnecting ventilator in a brain dead patient
Voluntary euthanasia
  1. Euthanasia induced at the will of an individual by his request
  2. A patient suffering from an incurable disease requesting the doctor to terminate his life
  3. In/Non voluntary euthanasia
  • Induced in patients who are unable to express their wishes
  • E.g. a person with irreversible coma or a severely defective infant
  • Paternalism - abuse of medical knowledge so as to distort the doctor-patient relationship in such a way the patient is deprived of his ability to take rational choice 
Exam Question
  • Passive euthanasia is legal in India
  • Physician assisted suicide is legal in some States of the US
  • Active euthanasia is legal in Netherlands and Belgium
  • A physician decides to discontinue or not to use extraordinary life sustaining measures to prolong his patients life. It is known as Passive euthanasia
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