, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 181-193

Euthanasia, Physician Assisted Suicide and Other Methods of Helping Along Death

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This paper introduces a series of papers dealing with the topic of euthanasia as an introduction to a variety of attitudes by health-care professionals and philosophers interested in this issue. The lead in paper—and really the lead in idea—stresses the fact that what we are discussing concerns only a minority of people lucky enough to live in conditions of acceptable sanitation and who have access to medical care. The topic of euthanasia and PAS really has three questions: (1) is killing another ever ethically acceptable; (2) is the participation of health professionals ethically different and (3) is it wiser to permit and set criteria (being fully aware of some dangers that lurk in such a move) or to forbid (knowing that it will occur clandestinely and uncontrolled). This paper takes no definite stand although it is very troubled by useless suffering (not only pain) by many who would wish their life and with it their suffering ended.