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The Difference between Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia

on Sun, 05/22/2016 - 16:48

Anne was a visitor to trufinancial's web site and she likes what she sees, she approached me willing to contribute. Her first article talked about The Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA) is looking to remove the two-year suicide clause, which states that if a person commits suicide within the first two years of an insurance contract, the beneficiary would not receive the death benefit and we talked about the new laws on assisted euthanasia in Canada.

When discussing assisted death, it is important to differentiate between assisted suicide and euthanasia. Assisted death refers both to physician-assisted ‘suicide’ and voluntary active euthanasia. In physician-assisted suicide, the doctor may, for instance, prescribe a medication which would enable the patient to later end his or her own life (i.e. the patient performs the act that ends their life); in voluntary active euthanasia, the physician would take a deliberate action with the intent of ending a patient’s life in order to relieve their suffering.

Those who support assisted suicide only feel that it gives the patient greater autonomy in terms of deciding the exact point at which they should die (and that therefore they have greater opportunity to change their minds at the last moment). However, this is not necessarily the case, since physicians providing assisted euthanasia can also discuss motivations for death various times before assisting the patient.

Proponents of physician assisted euthanasia note that with the help of a medical professional, less mistakes can occur. Moreover, patients administering their own medication may decide to take a lethal dose before they really wish to die, because they fear that they will not be able to swallow or hold down substances if they leave death to a later date. A physician can perform the role of a guide, letting them know that they are free to postpone the time of death, and administering the medication in a manner that the patient can withstand. Assisted euthanasia support groups note that with the help of a physician, the act of death can cause less anxiety, pain and discomfort for patients who wish to be guided and accompanied during their final moments.

About the author: Anne (Graves) is a freelance business writer and mother. She likes to work on business healthcare articles as a focus but will tackle anything that she feels passionate about!

**This essentially gets into the argument on whether it is ethical to "kill" someone "on purpose" even when that means it is "releasing that person from extreme pain", etc. Do you have any comments or viewpoints? Let us know!

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