Active Euthanasia

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Assisted suicide; Mercy-killing


Active euthanasia occurs when one takes active steps to terminate a patient’s life, such as administering a lethal dose of medication.


The term euthanasia is derived from the Greek, literally meaning good death; eu refers to good and thanatos refers to death. Active euthanasia refers specifically to the case in which a person’s life is ended through a deliberate act, such as the administration of a lethal dosage of a medication. Three types of active euthanasia have been identified. The most common is voluntary active euthanasia in which the person who has a terminal illness asks another person, often a physician, to perform the deliberate, life-ending act. Non-voluntary euthanasia occurs when a person other than the patient acts on the behalf of the patient and asks a third person to perform the deliberate, life-ending act. Lastly, involuntary euthanasia refers to the circumstance in which the pati ...