An introduction to the history of euthanasia and assisted suicide

Euthanasia and Physician Assisted Suicide By: The term was later abused, when German physicians willingly participated in the killing of more thanhelpless people. Anyone that was physically disabled, had mental illness, babies born with birth defects, senile elderly, and even wounded German soldiers were all intentionally killed because of their disabilities 1,3,5.

An introduction to the history of euthanasia and assisted suicide

A General History of Euthanasia What we would term euthanasia, has been both practised and condemned by various cultures and civilasions since time immemorial. In ancient times physicians had a dual role: Hippocrates separated the cure and kill functions of physicians.

The prevailing social conditions of the latter nineteenth century began to favour active euthanasia. In the Nazis replaced the Hippocratic Oath with the Gesundheit, an oath to the health of the Nazi state.

Campaigns for the legalisation of euthanasia are widespread in many countries, with activists challenging through the legal system where they fail in legislature.

For almost always, on hearing that anyone had died swiftly and painlessly, he prayed that he and his might have a like euthanasia, for that was the term he was wont to use.

Withdrawal or with-holding treatment was practiced in history, the correct term for this is orthothanasia, which means 'passive death. In orthothanasia, the action of killing is not applied, but, passive actions are present in order to provide death.

The place of euthanasia in the history of medical ethics The actions of easy death have been applied for hopeless patients who have been suffering extreme pain since ancient ages. These actions were forbidden from time to time. In Mesopotamia, Assyrian physicians forbade euthanasia. Again in the old times incurable patients were drowned in the River Ganges in India.

In ancient Israel, some books wrote that frankincense was given to kill incurable patients. Jewish society, following the teaching of the Bible and the sixth command "thou shall not kill", had rejected centuries ago every theory on shortening the life of handicapped or disadvantaged people.

Judaism considered life to be sacred and equated suicide and euthanasia with murder. One human life is as precious as a million lives, for each is infinite in value This practice was regarded as a way to protect the society from unnecessary burden, or as a way to 'save' the person from the burden of existence.

Protection of Conscience Project

In ancient Greece, suicide of the patient who was suffering extreme pain and had an incurable terminal illness was made easy and for this reason, the physician gave medicine a poisoned drink to him.

The first objection to euthanasia came from the Hippocratic Oath which says "I will not administer poison to anyone when asked to do so, nor suggest such a course. However, history notes that sickly newborn babies were left outside, overnight, exposed to the elements.

Christianity brought more respect to human beings. Accordingly, every individual has the right to live since God creates human beings and they belong to Him and not themselves.

Death is for God to decree, not man. Like Judeo-Christian teaching, Islam also teaches that God is the only one who creates and the only one who may take life away.

The English philosopher, Francis Baconwas the first to discuss prolongation of life as a new medical task, the third of three offices: Preservation of health, cure of disease and prolongation of life.

Bacon also asserts that, 'They ought to acquire the skill and bestow the attention whereby the dying may pass more easily and quietly out of life.

The earliest American statute explicitly to outlaw assisting suicide was enacted in New York inAct of Dec. Laws 19 codified at 2 N. Between anda New York commission led by Dudley Field drafted a criminal code that prohibited "aiding" a suicide and, specifically, "furnish[ing] another person with any deadly weapon or poisonous drug, knowing that such person intends to use such weapon or drug in taking his own life.

An often quoted nineteenth century document is, 'De euthanasia medica prolusio,' the inaugural professorial lecture of Carl F. Marx, a medical graduate of Jena. He argued that death either occurs as a sudden accident or in stages, with mental incapacity preceding the physical.

An introduction to the history of euthanasia and assisted suicide

Philosophy and religion may offer information and comfort, but the Physician is the best judge of the patient's ailment, and administers alleviation of pain where cure is impossible. Marx did not feel that that his form of euthanasia, which refers to palliative medicine without homicidal intention, was an issue until the nineteenth century.

Darwin's work and related theories of evolution had challenged the existence of a Creator God who alone had the right to determine life or death. The first popular advocate of active euthanasia in the nineteenth century, was a schoolmaster, not a doctor.

Background - Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia

In Samuel Williams wrote the first paper to deal with the concept of 'medicalised' euthanasia. Writing under the clear influence of utilitarianism and social Darwinism, he described the incurable sick as a useless to society and burdensome to the healthy.

Although his views were simply dismissed as revolutionary, similar views were emerging with the new science of eugenics, as ideas of sterilising the mentally ill, those with hereditary disorders, and the disabled, became fashionable. Inthe German philosopher, Nietsche, said that terminally ill patients are a burden to others and they should not have the right to live in this world.

Ina German lawyer, Jost, prepared a book called "Killing Law. According to Jost, life sometimes goes down to zero in value.

Thus, the value of the life of a patient with an incurable illness is very little.ASSISTED SUICIDE Introduction In order to understand assisted suicide, it is necessary to first know about Euthanasia. Euthanasia refers to the act by which an individual is put to a painless and easy death.

"A year-old has committed doctor-assisted suicide in Belgium, the first minor to do so under rules adopted in allowing euthanasia for people of all ages, the head of the national committee for euthanasia said on Saturday.

Euthanasia or assisted suicide—and sometimes both—have been legalized in a small number of countries and states. In all jurisdictions, laws and safeguards were put in place to prevent abuse and misuse of these practices.

Prevention measures have included, among others, explicit consent by the. Mention the term "euthanasia," and the first thing most people think of is the epic assisted suicide battle of the s starring Jack "Doctor Death" Kevorkian.

But the issue of whether human beings — and more pointedly, doctors — have the right to help others die has been in the public discourse since before the birth of Christ. When discussing assisted suicide it is important to make the distinction between euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Euthanasia is the intentionally administering medication to cause the patient's death and physician- assisted suicide is a physician providing medication interventions to a patient with the understanding that the patient intends to.

An introduction to the history of euthanasia and assisted suicide

Mention the term "euthanasia," and the first thing most people think of is the epic assisted suicide battle of the s starring Jack "Doctor Death" Kevorkian.

But the issue of whether human beings — and more pointedly, doctors — have the right to help others die has been in the public.

Historical Timeline - Euthanasia -