BY NATALIE GRONHOLM
Euthanasia is a tough topic to talk about in today's society. Euthanasia, which is always murder, but sometimes also a form of suicide, is actually the Greek word for "good death," and the act is also known as "mercy killing." It is generally defined as the intentional ending of a person's life in order to end his or her suffering. Because this act is associated with mercy, it is a very controversial topic. Bare-boned, it is one person taking the life of another. But, but! It is at the person's request and it is so that they will no longer suffer. In later posts we will -- at the very least -- examine the moral and social implications of euthanasia, but let's consider this an introductory post.
So we ask, "What is euthanasia?" There are three main types of euthanasia: voluntary, non-voluntary, and involuntary. Voluntary euthanasia is a doctor painlessly ending a patient's life with the patient’s consent. Non-voluntary euthanasia occurs when the patient’s will is not, or is unable to be, consulted in the matter of ending his life. When the euthanasia takes place against the will of the patient, it is referred to as involuntary euthanasia.
There are two ways all euthanasia is carried out: actively and passively. Active euthanasia occurs when a doctor does something to the patient in order to end his life, such as administering drugs. Passive euthanasia is when a doctor does not give a patient the necessary means of prolonging his life, such as withholding antibiotics.