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Introduction The traditional definition of euthanasia is simply, ?an easy, painless death?, however, in society today the perception of euthanasia (mercy killing) is the practice of painlessly putting to death persons who have incurable, painful, or distressing diseases or handicaps (Arguments Against, 1997-1998). This controversial subject presents multiple ethical conflicts, such as patient care decisions, the option to withhold life-sustaining treatments, societal debates, varied spiritual or cultural beliefs, and most important ?what the patient?s wishes are? (Hayes, 2004).

The purpose of this paper is to focus on comprehending the podium established for Negative or Passive Euthanasia. Before we can understand their policies and beliefs it is important to have a clear understanding of what exactly it is. Passive Euthanasia is the decision, by a patient or legally responsible individual, to withhold or withdraw extraordinary means of sustaining or prolonging a person?s life that is terminally ill, suffering or handicapped.

It is important to understand the intent is not to cause death, but to reject extraordinary treatments and to accept either death or continued life (Doyle, 2003).

Extraordinary means is the focal point encompassing passive euthanasia?s platform and is defined as all medicines, treatments, and operations that do not offer reasonable hope of benefit and may be excessively burdensome to either the patient or the family (Saunders, 2001). Examples of extraordinary means would be described as the preservation of life through the use of ventilators, artificial hydration, and artificial nutrition (Artificial Nutrition, 2003). In order to establish the necessity for these measures, certain goals need to be examined before a person can deliberate the benefits or burdens of their decisions (Hayes, 2004).

Some of the variables to be considered are the degree of complexity of the treatment, the amount of risk involved, financial considerations, as well as the state of...