Death Can Come Too Late: Active And Passive Euthanasia

Death is deeply personal, generally feared, and wholly inescapable,
but medical technology now can prolong our biological existence virtually
indefinitely, and, with these advances, comes the question of whether we
should pursue the extension of life in all cases. Most people would agree
that, under certain circumstances, it would be preferable to cease our hold
on life. Nearly everyone can agree that there are situations when
terminally ill patients have the right to call for a halt to life-extending
treatments, and that their physicians will have the moral obligation to
comply. What appears to be quite difficult for us as a society to come to
terms with is the thought that someone ...

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My question is this: how are the two morally different? Examine
the following case:
Perry L. was a nineteen-year-old who played in a local band, loved
the outdoors, and planned to become a doctor. One night in 1989 while
driving a skidoo he ran headlong into a tree. Perry no longer has any
cognitive abilities, he does not recognize anyone that he once knew, he
cannot communicate in any way, and he has no meaningful control over his
body or its functions. Perry will never recover any of his lost abilities
and he will never leave the hospital. His family has been impacted in ways
no one could have foreseen; his parents have divorced as a direct result of
this accident and his only brother refuses to visit, insisting that his
brother died in 1989. Perry was kept alive long enough for his critical
injuries to heal, allowing him to recover the ability to breath unassisted
once weaned off a respirator. This means that he will continue to live, if
one can call his ...

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which is "the use of artificial means to hasten death", or
passive euthanasia, which is the "withholding of treatment necessary for
the prolongation of life". Interestingly, both are classified as "mercy
killing". At least in this particular situation, the medical community
does not distinguish between killing and allowing to die. For the purposes
of this paper, I will adhere to Barron's definition - that euthanasia is
intended to relieve suffering, generally for those patients who are in the
later stages of terminal illness, or those who face prolonged or
significantly painful treatments for disease or injury.
Certain philosophers have argued that there is a ...

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Death Can Come Too Late: Active And Passive Euthanasia. (2007, May 17). Retrieved January 21, 2019, from
"Death Can Come Too Late: Active And Passive Euthanasia.", 17 May. 2007. Web. 21 Jan. 2019. <>
"Death Can Come Too Late: Active And Passive Euthanasia." May 17, 2007. Accessed January 21, 2019.
"Death Can Come Too Late: Active And Passive Euthanasia." May 17, 2007. Accessed January 21, 2019.
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Added: 5/17/2007 02:54:19 PM
Category: Health & Medicine
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 2561
Pages: 10

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