Contrary to the policy of the american medical

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contrary to the policy of the American Medical Association. The cessationof the employment of extraordinary means to prolong the life of the bodywhen there is irrefutable evidence that biological death is imminent is thedecision of the patient and/or his immediate family. The advice andjudgment of the physician should be freely available to the patient and/orhis immediate family.”Passive vs Active EuthanasiaoPassive Euthanasia: death by omission. The doctor discontinues life-savingmedical treatment.oActive Euthanasia: death by action. The doctor deliberately performs an actionwith the intention of ending the patient’s life.Physician Assisted Suicide: the doctor intentionally provides the means orinformation (or both) for the patient to kill himself.Rachels’ AimoRachels’ aim in this article is to challenge the doctrine of the AMA that acceptspassive euthanasia but not active euthanasia.oHe presents four arguments against this doctrine:Argument One: Active Euthanasia is more humane than passiveeuthanasiaArgument Two: The conventional doctrine leads to decisions concerninglife and death that are made on irrelevant grounds25
Argument Three: The distinction between killing and letting die has nomoral importanceArgument Four: Most common arguments advanced in defence of PassiveEuthanasia are invalidArgument One: Active Euthanasia is more humane than Passive EuthanasiaoWithholding treatment from a patient might mean more pain and suffering forthat patientoOnce patient decides he no longer wants to live, active euthanasia morallypreferable to passive euthanasia, as it will result in less pain and suffering for thepatientoBeing allowed to die can be slow and painful, whereas actively being killed (say,through a lethal injection) could be relatively quick and painlessArgument Two: Decision made on irrelevant groundsoIn the United States (in and around 1975), about 1 in 600 babies are born withDown’s Syndrome. Most of these babies are otherwise healthy and will go on tolead a normal infancy – some, however, are born with serious defects, such as anintestinal blockage that requires an operation if they are to liveoSometimes, there is no operation, and the baby dies, and when there is no defect(intestinal blockage) the baby lives on. The reason why there is no operation isbecause the child has Down’s Syndrome, and the parents and/or doctor judgethat because of that fact it would be better for the child to die.oRachels: If life is worth preserving, what does it matter if the baby needs arelatively simple operation? Or, if one thinks it better that a baby with Down’sSyndrome should not live on, what difference does it make if the baby happensto have an unobstructed intestinal tract? In either case, the matter of life anddeath is being decided on irrelevant grounds. It is the Down’s Syndrome, and notthe intestines, that is the issue.

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Term
Spring
Professor
StefanRodde

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