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Moral Aspects of Euthanasia

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 definition of assisted suicide; however, whereas the AMA distinguishes between the act of suicide and the doctor's providing means and knowledge, the NASW says that "physician and the patient are both involved" (NASW 58), insofar as the physician complies with the specific request of the (mentally competent) patient.

The term right to die has a legal connotation to assisted suicide. However, it also has moral aspects, which can mean

(1) "a right to be allowed to die," which would be a right of non-interference and would be exer


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Moral Aspects of Euthanasia. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 09:05, October 23, 2014, from
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