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Euthanasia has been a matter of dispute since the moment it started existing as an option. The name itself comes from Greek 'eu' which means 'good' and 'thanasia' which stands for 'death'. Basically, euthanasia is a process of ending a patient's life when he/she is suffering from great pain, having no chances of recovery. Since this act borders on both suicide and murder, many countries and institutions consider it immoral and even bizarre.

On the other hand, numerous countries like Switzerland, Belgium, Netherlands, and even Washington and Oregon legalize euthanasia, once they have the consent of the family.

Attitudes towards Euthanasia

As far as religion is concerned, euthanasia is mostly scorned, even though there are certain religious groups and churches who accept and support it. The Roman Catholic church considers euthanasia to be a synonym for murder and makes no difference between the two actions since no living soul may judge the fate of another soul. Hindus believe that euthanasia creates disruptions between reincarnation and death while Orthodox Christians mostly accept, understand and tolerate euthanasia as a merciful act. Finally, Muslims condemn this act severely.

Types of Euthanasia

Once euthanasia becomes an option in the first place, the patient already needs to be on life support devices. Alternatively, he/she may be facing imminent death due to the extreme deterioration his/her body is experiencing. Then, euthanasia involves either shutting down the machines keeping the patient alive or giving the patient morphine and antibiotic drugs in lethal doses. In some cases, patients state their consent regarding euthanasia in their wills.

Either way, euthanasia can be passive, manifesting through the doctor ceasing the necessary medical treatment which keeps the patient alive, or active, involving the doctor shutting down the devices or administering drugs which kill the patient.

Pros and Cons regarding Euthanasia

Some people justify euthanasia considering it an act guided by the doctor who knows that there is no help for the suffering patient, giving other patients a life-saving opportunity by increasing the number of free beds in the hospital. Others strongly disagree claiming that doctors have taken oaths which prevent them from taking people's lives.

Furthermore, some say that this is a merciful act, ending the patient's suffering while others consider it unethical, immoral and wrong. Also, some say that the hospital saves money through euthanasia, investing it in the health of people who can actually be saved. Others consider this act to be nothing more than discarding one's life without his/her consent, condemning the families who agree to this step, saying that they have murdered their supposedly loved ones.

All in all, euthanasia is still present in some countries, while others consider it obnoxious and unacceptable. Human life is truly something more abstract that we can possibly imagine and the dispute over it is simply inevitable.

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