Chapter Five: Euthanasia

Chapter Five:
Applying Ethics: A Text with Readings (10th ed.)
Julie C. Van Camp, Jeffrey Olen, Vincent Barry
Cengage Learning/Wadsworth
What is the significance of “personhood”
in considering euthanasia?
What are examples of the assignment of
basic patient rights?
– To refuse treatment
– To be treated with dignity
What is the significance of the point at which
we are no longer a person?
– The definition of “death”
– The point at which termination is no longer
What is the difference between ordinary
and extraordinary treatment?
Does this distinguish permissible
from impermissible euthanasia?
What is ordinary treatment?
– all medicines, treatments, procedures that offer
reasonable hope of benefit but do not involve
excessive pain
What is extraordinary treatment?
– unusual, extremely difficult, dangerous, inordinately
expensive, offer no reasonable hope of benefit
What is the moral significance of
killing vs. allowing to die?
What is active vs. passive euthanasia?
Are they of equal moral status?
Does the distinction solve the euthanasia
Voluntary vs. nonvoluntary
What is voluntary euthanasia?
– A decision for euthanasia made by the patient
What is nonvoluntary euthanasia?
– A decision made by someone else, not the patient
What is involuntary euthanasia?
– A decision made by someone else, when the patient
never expressed a preference
Assisted suicide
What is assisted suicide?
– The act of terminating the life is carried out by
the patient, but with assistance from medical
What has the U.S. Supreme Court said
about assisted suicide?
– There is no right to assisted suicide
– States may permit if they wish
“The Wrongfulness of Euthanasia”
J. Gay-Williams
What is his position on (Active) euthanasia?
– It is always wrong
What reasons does his give for this position?
– Violates the nature and dignity of persons
– Self-interest (e.g., possibility of new treatment, family
– Practical effects (e.g., slippery slope to nonvoluntary
“Voluntary Active Euthanasia”
Dan W. Brock
How does he defends voluntary active
– Value of individual self-determination or autonomy
– Value of individual well-being
How does he reconcile the moral goals of
physicians with voluntary active euthanasia?
“Active and Passive Euthanasia”
James Rachels
What is his position on the difference between active
and passive euthanasia?
– There is no moral difference between active and passive
– He rejects the American Medical Association distinction between
active and passive
What is his reasoning?
– Kantian respect for persons
– Utilitarian consequences
– Distinction leads to decision-making on irrelevant grounds
“Gender, Feminism, and Death: PhysicianAssisted Suicide and Euthanasia”
Susan M. Wolf
What is a feminist perspective on the ethics of
assisted suicide and euthanasia?
As women are at greater risk for inadequate
pain relief, depression, suicidal thoughts, are
they capable of voluntary consent?
Do women feel more pressure to consent to
assisted suicide or euthanasia, when men would