What does the word “mercitron” sound like? Perhaps a toy, or maybe some sort of machine. In reality, the Mercitron, an invention of euthanasia advocate Jack Kevorkian, allowed a patient to self-administer a lethal dose of drugs with the click of a button (“Suicide). Euthanasia, Greek for “good death”, is the act of painlessly causing the death of an individual with a terminal illness or in an irreversible coma (“Euthanasia.” World). Many classifications of euthanasia exist, some legal in certain places, while others not. People opposed to euthanasia use several arguments against it, such as religious beliefs and the history of Nazis using it, while supporters reason with views in favor of it. Euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide both contain a strong element of questionable medical ethics subject to the criticisms of society, although many people support them regardless.
The classification of euthanasia differs drastically based on the situation of the patient, leading to the presence of various forms (“Euthanasia.” Issues). For example, active euthanasia occurs when a doctor performs an action to end a life, while passive euthanasia transpires through the omission of a life-preserving action (Encyclopedia). Indirect euthanasia, or physician-assisted suicide, arises when a patient takes the step that induces death. On the contrary, a physician causes the death during direct euthanasia. This is further split into three categories: voluntary, involving the patient’s consent, nonvoluntary, concerning euthanasia of a patient deemed incapable of making a decision as a result of a mental illness or coma, and involuntary, the euthanasia of a patient irrespective of their decision (“Euthanasia.” Issues). Ultimately, euthanasia divides into varied branches based on its application in the situations of unique patients, who possess diverse motives for choosing death.
Likewise, numerous reasons incite requests for euthanasia. Notably, incurable diseases, such as metastatic and terminal cancer, serve as a cause for patients to seek euthanasia because the ill manage painful symptoms and intense suffering (Encyclopedia). As an illustration, a majority of patients in Oregon who died after injecting a lethal dose of medication had previously received a primary diagnosis of cancer (“Suicide). Additionally, many wish to take matters into their own hands (Encyclopedia). With this intention, some people desire “to control [the] circumstances of [their] death” and hope to die at home, whereas others worry about the approaching poor quality of life, or impending pain (“The End). Furthermore, major motives include a diminished ability to participate in enjoyable activities and the loss of autonomy or dignity (“Physician-Assisted). The patients may perceive themselves as a burden, or sustain fear of a “bad” death (“The End). Altogether, these reasons act as contributing factors to appeals for euthanasia, and bring about supporting individuals and groups.