Myend believes in looking forward and trying to adjust to your end of life needs as they transform in a fast-paced, ever changing world. But it’s not only our lives that change but our deaths too. This is why you may find it useful – or at least interesting! – to consider what euthanasia could mean for you. And if it has a place in your end of life planning. We first answer questions such what is euthanasia and where is it legal. We then elaborate on our own euthanasia statement.
Let’s start at the beginning, though.
What is euthanasia?
Euthanasia is a medical term for the practice of ending the life of a patient to limit the patient’s suffering. A patient in this case could be terminally ill or experiencing great pain and suffering.
The word “euthanasia” comes from the Greek words “eu” (good) and “thanatos” (death). It has come to mean an act of mercy killing, so that someone can die a painless, gentle death. The notion of a good death is hardly a new idea.
Historically, the notion of a good death has existed in almost every single culture in different forms. In modern societies one interpretation of good death is indeed a painless, easy way to go. Most people would see that as ideal not only for themselves but also for their loved ones! And that’s what euthanasia is in its core.
However, there’s a long standing argument about how ethical as well as religiously and culturally appropriate euthanasia is. If you’re curious about this debate you can have a look here for more details.
As a result of the ambiguity of euthanasia, most countries including America, have banned it. Or have they? There are actually many forms of euthanasia and not all of them are banned. Let’s have a quick look.
Forms of euthanasia
It’s important to note that there are different types of euthanasia, each with its own definition. Our related article discusses this in further detail.
A medical procedure to end a patient’s life by injecting lethal drugs. Sometimes called “forcibly inducing death,” or “aggressive euthanasia”. That’s illegal in most countries.
Involves letting a patient die by withholding artificial life support such as a ventilator or feeding tube. Some ethicists distinguish between different actions within passive euthanasia: withdrawing life support, which means the patient is on life support but then removed from it, and withholding life support, which means the patient is intentionally allowed to stop breathing and die without any artificial mechanisms being used.
The patient administers the means of death.
A person other than the patient administers the means of death.
The patient is helped by another person, such as a physician, to end his or her life.
There are many possible combinations of the above types of euthanasia, and many types are morally controversial. Some types of assisted voluntary euthanasia are legal in some countries.
The term “mercy killing,” in its broadest sense, refers to any case in which a person is killed, at his or her own request or that of another individual, ostensibly to end suffering.
A physician who provides a means for his or her patient to kill himself or herself is committing assisted suicide.
The status of euthanasia
Many instances of euthanasia are deemed morally acceptable by society. Passive euthanasia, for instance, is legal in most countries. Some of them might be even accessible to you without you even knowing about it. If you want to read more on what types of euthanasia are available in your area or region, you should have a look here.
Myend’s Euthanasia Statement
Since there is a lot of legal ambiguity across different states and countries, Myend finds it crucial for your voice to be heard. That’s why we’ve created the euthanasia statement that you can access with a premium account. Of course we understand euthanasia is not for everyone. After all, there are very specific eligibility criteria for euthanasia.
This end of life document allows you to express your wishes regarding your, well, end of life. Although this document cannot be legally enforced by a doctor or a relative, it’s still useful! For example, in case you’re capacitated a euthanasia statement is going to clearly make your wishes known. Your euthansia statement should also align with other end of life documents as well as advance care directives you may have created. This way you paint a very clear picture to your attending physicians regarding your end of life.
The world is rapidly changing and we’re all adjusting to new realities every day. By the time you’re old enough to consider euthanasia it might have become much more accessible than it is now. So why not get ahead of the curve and prepare a document that expresses your wishes?
Myend’s euthanasia statement may not be a legally binding document, but it allows you to share your wishes. And that can be an empowering gesture that provides dignity and self control over your life’s end. That’s why we have included it as an end of life directive. Sign up today to create your own end of life plan in clear, simple and fast steps!