euthanasia

euthanasiast /yooh'theuh nay"zee ast'/, n.euthanasic /yooh'theuh nay"zik/, adj.
/yooh'theuh nay"zheuh, -zhee euh, -zee euh/, n.
1. Also called mercy killing. the act of putting to death painlessly or allowing to die, as by withholding extreme medical measures, a person or animal suffering from an incurable, esp. a painful, disease or condition.
2. painless death.
[1640-50; < NL < Gk euthanasía an easy death, equiv. to eu- EU- + thánat(os) death + -ia -Y3]

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Painless killing of a person who has a painful, incurable disease or incapacitating disorder.

Most legal systems consider it murder, though in many jurisdictions a physician may lawfully decide not to prolong the patient's life or may give drugs to relieve pain even if they shorten the patient's life. Associations promoting legal euthanasia exist in many countries. The legalization movement has gained ground with advancing medical technology, which has been used to prolong the lives of patients who are enduring extreme suffering or who are comatose or unable to communicate their wishes. Euthanasia was legalized in The Netherlands in 2001 and in Belgium in 2002. In 1997 Oregon became the first state in the U.S. to decriminalize physician-assisted suicide.

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law
also called  mercy killing  

      act or practice of painlessly putting to death persons suffering from painful and incurable disease or incapacitating physical disorder. Because there is no specific provision for it in most legal systems, it is usually regarded as either suicide (if performed by the patient himself) or murder (if performed by another). A physician may, however, lawfully decide not to prolong life in cases of extreme suffering; and he may administer drugs to relieve pain, even if this shortens the patient's life. In the late 20th century, several European countries had special provisions in their criminal codes for lenient sentencing and the consideration of extenuating circumstances in prosecutions for euthanasia.

      The opinion that euthanasia is morally permissible is traceable to Socrates, Plato, and the Stoics. It is rejected in traditional Christian belief, chiefly because it is thought to contravene the prohibition of murder in the Ten Commandments. The organized movement for legalization of euthanasia commenced in England in 1935, when C. Killick Millard founded the Voluntary Euthanasia Legalisation Society (later called the Euthanasia Society). The society's bill was defeated in the House of Lords in 1936, as was a motion on the same subject in the House of Lords in 1950. In the United States the Euthanasia Society of America was founded in 1938.

      The first countries to legalize euthanasia were The Netherlands (Netherlands, The) in 2001 and Belgium in 2002. In 1997 Oregon became the first state in the United States to decriminalize physician-assisted suicide; opponents of the controversial law, however, attempted to have it overturned.

      The potential of modern medical practice to prolong life through technological means has provoked the question of what courses of action should be available to the physician and the family in cases of extreme physical or emotional suffering, especially if the patient is incapable of choice. Passively doing nothing to prolong life or withdrawing life-support measures has resulted in criminal charges being brought against physicians; on the other hand, the families of comatose and apparently terminal patients have instituted legal action against the medical establishment to make them stop the use of extraordinary life support.

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Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • euthanasia — eu·tha·na·sia /ˌyü thə nā zhə/ n: the act or practice of killing or permitting the death of hopelessly sick or injured persons in a relatively painless way for reasons of mercy – called also mercy killing; eu·tha·na·sic / nā zik, sik/ adj Merriam …   Law dictionary

  • EUTHANASIA — EUTHANASIA, term denoting the action of inducing gentle and easy death, first used by the British moral historian W.E.H. Lecky in 1869. Among advocates of this measure to terminate the life of sufferers from incurable or painful disease are many… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Euthanasia LP — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Euthanasia LP Álbum de Ca$his Publicación 2009 Grabación 2009 …   Wikipedia Español

  • Euthanasia — • From Greek eu, well, and thanatos, death, easy, painless death Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Euthanasia     Euthanasia     † …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Euthanasia — Eu tha*na si*a . [NL., fr. Gr. ?; e y^ well + ? death, ?, ?, to die: cf. F. euthanasie.] 1. An easy death; a mode of dying to be desired. An euthanasia of all thought. Hazlitt. [1913 Webster] The kindest wish of my friends is euthanasia.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • euthanasia — c.1600, from Gk. euthanasia an easy or happy death, from eu good (see EU (Cf. eu )) + thanatos death (see THANATOLOGY (Cf. thanatology)). Sense of legally sanctioned mercy killing is first recorded in English 1869 …   Etymology dictionary

  • euthanasia — euthanasia, active/passive …   Philosophy dictionary

  • euthanasia — [n] mercy killing assisted suicide, putting out of misery*; concept 252 …   New thesaurus

  • euthanasia — ► NOUN ▪ the painless killing of a patient suffering from an incurable disease or in an irreversible coma. ORIGIN from Greek eu well + thanatos death …   English terms dictionary

  • euthanasia — [yo͞o΄thə nā′zhə, yo͞o΄thə nā′zhē ə, yo͞o΄thə nā′zē ə] n. [Gr, painless, happy death < eu (see EU ) + thanatos, death: see DULL] 1. Now Rare an easy and painless death 2. act or practice of causing death painlessly, so as to end suffering:… …   English World dictionary

  • Euthanasia — For mercy killings performed on animals, see Animal euthanasia. Part of a series on …   Wikipedia

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