A critical ethical approach to the
problem of euthanasia
'It makes a great difference whether a man is lengthening his life or his death. If the body is useless for service, why should one not free the struggling soul?'
Seneca (?4 BC-AD 65)
An individual, reliably diagnosed to be in PVS, has been in this state for several years. The close relatives of this individual and the attendant health care professionals consider that the best outcome for this individual is death. Should artificial nutrition and hydration be withdrawn from this individual in order that he might die?
The principles that have been discussed and the distinctions that have been drawn are now shown in use by considering the question of whether or not euthanasia is morally justifiable. The structure of the discussion is described in 3.3, and the relevance of the Principles of Beneficence, Non-maleficence, Autonomy and Justice are considered.
Euthanasia interpreted literally means a 'good death'. Current understanding of this term indicates that it is used to refer to a deliberate death brought about by one person for the benefit of another person, the person whose life is taken. There are