April 14, 2014
Euthanasia; Where the Line Is Drawn
The long-term debate about issues surrounding passive euthanasia or non-voluntary euthanasia dates back to the 5th century B.C. Passive euthanasia is defined as the ending of life in patients, who cannot make a decision or cannot make their wishes known, by the deliberate withholding of drugs or other life-sustaining treatment (Medicalnewstoday.com). Cases in which passive euthanasia is exercised are as follows: coma patients, patients that are too young, the senile, mentally retarded or people who are severely brain damaged. Issues that arise in the ongoing debate can range from the legality of the practice to moral and ethical religious values that our country and the patient follow.
Take into consideration the definition of murder; the premeditated killing of one human being by another. From this single idea many different controversial issues spawn. Without the patient able to make a decision regarding his or her life essentially one other person is given the right to make the final decision.
With that being stated, even more controversial issues arise.
In order for non-voluntary euthanasia to be performed, one of three tests must be passed; they are called the subjective test, limited objective test, and pure objective test (Hirsch). The subjective test is when the decision-maker determines what the patient would have done if they were coherent. Evidence sufficient enough to pass this test is a previous oral directive given by the patient to family or friends, religious beliefs, a power of attorney or patterns of conduct with previous medical care decisions. Any of which that can be provided are sufficient evidence to withhold or withdraw treatment from the patient. The second test, limited objective, is when the guardian or surrogate decision-maker refuses treatment when there...