Definition Essay: Nina

Distinguishing Euthanasia and
Physician Assisted Suicide

When speaking of incurable diseases and the suffering of patients with mental disorders, two options are made available. The first being euthanasia, the second being physician assisted suicide. Euthanasia is a method of the painless killing of a patient who is suffering a painful or incurable disease. The procedure is take place is a hospitable area and the patient is instructed by doctors and other medical professionals of the results of the procedure. In physician assisted suicide, if approved by a doctor and several other medical professionals, a patient does not necessarily have to suffer from an incurable disease to have approval of participating in the procedure.

There are many differences between both procedures. First, the reason for wanting the procedure. In the case of euthanasia, the patient who is requesting the procedure must have a terminal incurable disease and the family of the patient must agree. In assistant suicide, in Oregon for example, individuals who were of legal age, had the choice of an assisted suicide (Death with Dignity Law). The patient or client did not have suffer from an incurable disease.

Next, the biggest difference is the process of which both procedures occur. In euthanasia, once the patient is diagnosed with the terminal disease, if the doctor suggests or offers euthanasia as an alternative from suffering, the patient will make their decision. If the patient decides to prolong the procedure, he or she will than have to inform their family and complete counseling following up to the procedure. Then, the day of the procedure a drug know as pentobarbital is given to the patient by either IV or injection. Pentobarbital eventually makes the patient unconscious in one to two minutes and shuts down the brain and heart functions.

Next,there are three types of euthanasia, voluntary, non-voluntary, and involuntary. Voluntary euthanasia is done with the patients consent, and the patient understands his or her decision. Non-voluntary euthanasia is when the procedure is conducted on someone who was unable to consent due to their current health condition. In that scenario, another appropriate person, on the patients behalf can make the decision. Lastly, involuntary euthanasia is when the patient or a person is able to give consent but doesn’t and is forced to go through the procedure against their will.

To complete the procedure, there are two options the patient has active and passive. Passive euthanasia is when a medical professional offers strong doses of medication which will eventually become toxic to the patient. Active euthanasia is the use of a lethal substance to end a patients life. Active euthanasia is commonly argued and countered against moral, ethical, and religious reasoning.

On the other hand, in assisted suicide is more self reliant procedure. An individual will be administered a strong prescription of drugs.The patient has to sign a total of six to seven times a consent form for the procedure from the day they sign for the procedure to the day of. The reason for many signatures is so the patient doesn’t feel as though they have to proceed in the operation after changing his or her mind. Alongside the paper work, yet another form is asked to be signed 48 hours prior to the operation. Next, the day of the procedure the participant is given a bottle of prescription pills authorized by a doctor. With a physician alongside him or her, the participant is instructed to take the pills which will slowly put the patient into a deep coma. The patient is allowed to decide when he or she is ready to take the prescription drug.

Another means of difference between euthanasia and assisted suicide is the state of where each procedure can be performed. Active human euthanasia is legal outside the U.S in countries such as Belgium, the Netherlands, Columbia, and Canada. Assisted suicide is legal in Switzerland, Germany, and the Netherlands. In the U.S, assisted suicide is legal in Oregon, Washington, Vermont, Hawaii, Colorado, and California.

In the U.S, the states that allow physician assisted suicide have what is called a Death by Dignity law. This law allows terminally ill, qualified adults voluntarily request and receive a prescription drug to hasten their death. One of the most important elements when discussing assisted suicide is the state of mind the patient is in when making the decision. All states that have an active Death with Dignity law require that the patient has no history of extreme mental illness and is competent to make decisions. Though many who believe this counters the right to choose death at your own call, physicians and other medical professionals would not want patients applying for assisted suicide based on a drive of emotions.

Asch, D. A. (2017, May 23). The Role of Critical Care Nurses in Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide | NEJM. Retrieved from https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199605233342106

How to Access and Use Death with Dignity Laws. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.deathwithdignity.org/learn/access

Nordqvist, C. (2018, December 17). Euthanasia and assisted suicide: What are they and what do they mean? Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/182951.php

This entry was posted in Definition Categorical, nina, Portfolio Nina. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Definition Essay: Nina

  1. davidbdale says:

    Nina, as readers we wonder why it’s important to distinguish between these procedures, and since they’re not widely available, we also wonder whether we’ll be given an option to choose which one we prefer. An introduction that provided that sort of essential information would be very helpful, even if we’re not personally shopping for and end-of-life procedure.

  2. davidbdale says:

    We’re also having trouble understanding EXACTLY what you mean in cases where precision is very important. Here are some trouble spots:

    —When speaking of incurable diseases and the suffering of patients with mental disorders, two options are made available. The first being euthanasia, the second being physician assisted suicide.

    First, Nina, you make it sound as if anybody with mental disorders OR an incurable disease will be offered two options for medical end-of-life procedures. But we know that’s not true. Legal jurisdictions play a VERY big part in what’s available.

    —Euthanasia is a method of the painless killing of a patient who is suffering a painful or incurable disease.

    This is a little too vague, Nina. A painful disease would not by itself qualify anyone for euthanasia. Even in incurable disease doesn’t qualify unless death is imminent. Or do I misunderstand?

    —The procedure is take place is a hospitable area and the patient is instructed by doctors and other medical professionals of the results of the procedure.

    The grammar here is very confusing. You mean “The procedure takes place in any hospitable location (not necessarily a hospital), and the patient is guided by doctors and other medical professionals (who are present throughout) through the steps of the procedure.”

    —In physician assisted suicide, if approved by a doctor and several other medical professionals, a patient does not necessarily have to suffer from an incurable disease to have approval of participating in the procedure.

    Does this distinguish the two procedures? Do you mean “Unlike euthanasia, physician-assisted suicide does not require that a patient’s disease be incurable”? If so, you haven’t made clear yet that euthanasia DOES require that that the disease be incurable.

    —There are many differences between both procedures. First, the reason for wanting the procedure.

    These two statements should be combined into one sentence since the second one is a fragment. “The first of many differences between the procedures is the patient’s motivation.”

    —In the case of euthanasia, the patient who is requesting the procedure must have a terminal incurable disease and the family of the patient must agree.

    But this sentence does not describe a difference of motivation. It describes eligibility.

    —In assisted suicide, in Oregon for example, individuals who were of legal age, had the choice of an assisted suicide (Death with Dignity Law). The patient or client did not have suffer from an incurable disease.

    And this one does not describe motivation either, Nina. It describes eligibility.

    —Next, the biggest difference is the process of which both procedures occur.

    Just a small usage note. When you’re comparing two items for differences, you confuse readers by saying BOTH. In this case: “The biggest difference is procedural.”

    BREATHER.
    What I’m beginning to conclude here, Nina, is that you’d do better to use BLOCK ORGANIZATION. We’re not clear enough about the two procedures to keep track of your distinctions when you switch back and forth between them. If you have an ethical point to make (maybe you approve of one type but disapprove of the other?) (or maybe you think despite their differences that both are ethical?) You should make those ethical evaluations part of your Definition analysis. INCORPORATE your argument into your description. Not just “doctors will guide the patient through the process,” for example, but, “the careful guidance of doctors throughout the process insures that this end-of-life decision is not hasty or ill-advised.”

    —In euthanasia, once the patient is diagnosed with the terminal disease, if the doctor suggests or offers euthanasia as an alternative from suffering, the patient will make their decision.

    You say that here, but I know from reading ahead that you’re going to name two other types of euthanasia in which the patient DOES NOT MAKE THE DECISION.

    —If the patient decides to prolong the procedure, he or she will than have to inform their family and complete counseling following up to the procedure.

    Too many procedures here, Nina. The “procedure” the patient “decides to prolong” is the process of diagnosis and evaluation that leads to final “permission” to end one’s life, right? The “procedure” that follows is the injection of life-ending chemicals.

    —Then, the day of the procedure a drug know as pentobarbital is given to the patient by either IV or injection. Pentobarbital eventually makes the patient unconscious in one to two minutes and shuts down the brain and heart functions.

    “one to two minutes” is not EVENTUALLY; it’s almost instantly.

    I could go on like this, Nina, but you undoubtedly get the point of my VERY CLOSE reading here. You’re describing life-and-death procedures and decisions so precise language is needed. I do think you’ll find that if you first spend a few paragraphs describing, for example, the procedure you think has ETHICAL PROBLEMS, you’ll find it easier to describe JUST THE DIFFERENCES in the other procedure that mitigate those problems, for example. I can’t tell from your essay whether you prefer one to the other or are OK with both, or think they’re both barbaric. I shouldn’t be wondering.

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