Slide 2: Euthanasia
Euthanasia is the deliberate killing of a person for the benefit of that person.
In most cases euthanasia is carried out because the person who dies asks for it, but there are cases called euthanasia where a person can't make such a request.
Slide 3: Key vocabulary:
Slide 4: Euthanasia is illegal in the UK It is not illegal to commit suicide
It is illegal to help someone commit suicide. To do so could result in imprisonment for murder.
It is illegal to end an ill person’s life if it could possibly be preserved to a basic standard or ‘quality of life’.
Doctors must seek the consent of family members before making decisions about unconscious patients.
Slide 5: Euthanasia – from a doctor’s point of view Doctors have a responsibility to strive to keep alive a patient even if they know that patient is dying. When becoming a doctor, they take the Hippocratic oath in which they promise to live up to this responsibility.
Slide 6: Life support machines and modern medicines can keep people alive much longer than in the past, even where the patient is unlikely to regain consciousness. How long should someone remain unconscious? Can we ever be absolutely sure that a person will not regain consciousness?
Life can be preserved where in the past people would have died. This may mean that the life of the patient is one of pain, suffering and loss of dignity. Should life be preserved even if the quality of life is poor? What counts as ‘poor quality of life’?
If the family of a patient want treatment to continue even though doctors do not recommend it, this makes the situation very difficult. The case may have to be decided in court. Should doctors be forced to ‘fight’ relatives in this way? Should relatives have more say than doctors?
Doctors know that some treatments can kill a patient. Should such treatments be given? If so how much? When should treatment stop? Who should be in control of these treatments?
Slide 7: Euthanasia – A Doctor’s View: Euthanasia should be legalised because: Euthanasia should not be legalised because:
Slide 8: Should euthanasia be legalised?