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Euthanasia as Morally Permissible

AMA's definition of assisted suicide, associated with such figures as Kevorkian and as a practical matter having more to do with law and medicine than morality, is the situation in which a physician gives a patient either means or knowledge to commit suicide but does not perform the act. Palliative treatment is the name given to the act of providing increasing drug dosages for pain relief that may have the so-called double effect of ending the patient's life. AMA distinguishes between these definitions and passive euthanasia, in which doctor, patient, or "patient's proxy" in the form of living will, durable power of attorney, or other advanced health-care directive, authorizes withdrawal or withholding of life-support treatments when disadvantage outweighs advantage (Glasson 93-4, et passim).

The National Association of Social Workers uses the term passive euthanasia to describe withdrawing or withholding of artificial or "medically inappropriate" life support in hopeless cases, while palliative care is the name NASW uses for medical intervention intended for pain relief but not cure. Compare this with the term voluntary active euthanasia, or a physician's "administering a lethal dose after a clearly competent patient makes a fully voluntary and persistent request for aid in dying" (NASW 58). NASW's definition of physician-assisted suicide (PAS) coincides with the AMA's d


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Euthanasia as Morally Permissible. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 10:41, October 24, 2014, from
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