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Euthanasia is a concept that is formed by the combination of the words eu (that is good, nice ) and thanatos (death) in Greek Euthanasia, which is defined as a humanist application because it rescues the patient from his/her pain and suffer, has a meaning of making death easier by the medicine which are used to reduce pain and to cause death consciously by the help of medicines for the patients who are so bad that cannot live.
The reasons for the demand for euthanasia which increased can be explained by human life getting longer as living conditions are getting better and that even the people who are in vegetal life can be kept alive as a result of the developments in the science of medicine.
Applications in ancient Greek, especially the noble thinking that to be seen in and old an sick body is a dishonorable situation and so willing to die, among Altay Turks killing the ones whose illness is impossible to cure, Denmark warrior’s killing themselves considering that being old and losing the ability as an dishouaneble situation, Eskimos leaving the old for death or Japananeses leaving their old mothers in a snowy forest are known to be euthanasia in traditional sense. However euthanasia is not a way choosen by the ones who want to die because of neglect or by the ones who want to end to their lives to realize a defined value or a method applied by the individuals in order to protect the population balance.
To talk about euthanasia in medical sense there need to be a person who definitely suffer from unbearable pains and there need to be a person who cannot realize his/ her human performance because of his/her physical position or illness.
It is a well-known fact that generally all religious see euthanasia applications as something negative. According to Jewish life, which is gifted by God, will be taken again by God at the time when God wills from the individual.
Because of this it is not legal for the individual to end his own or other’s life.
Even killing the people who are no longer useful to public, the babies who were born with heavy disorders or leaving them to death with neglect are banned. Since the birth of Christianity, Individual’s killing himself or the others is banned. Thus Augustinos’s committing suicide was critised hard and was seen as an act against the order You won’t kill which is 6th one of the ten orders. According to Islam man has got no right to decide on his vitality. Because of this in Islam, comitting suicide, applications similiar to Euthanasia even the individual’s of demand death from God is banned. Because, according to Islam, People’s sufferings in this world because of illnesses and various reasons will reduce the sufferings in the other world. And according to Buddhism it’s banned to behave as to accelerate the death of the patients who are impossible to cure.
If a monk talks about the advantages of death or the goodness of the life after death comparison to miserables of life in order to envy committing suicide, he can be excommunicated.
Euthanasia as a matter of philosophy is a matter of ending the life of a person as after an agreement with the doctor and the patient.
We know that most people give the answer Without pain to the question How would you like to die? the tendency of the human to the painless and easy death emerge when the illness causes unberable pains or when health conditions don’t suffice to lead life.
This is to die with honour when there is no possibility to live with honour. Death is the biggest mystery of life for every person in the world. Because of this for most of the people deaths’s being a certain end is a fact that can be accepted hard.
Religous and traditional beliefs see death as the return to real origin, a door leading to the other world, a part of a divine plan and make metaphysical explanations about death.
According to Anatolian traditions the dead person is buried with a slight slope on his right to the prepared grave. A little hole is digged just under the head of the dead person and a stone is put in the hole. According to tradition the person realizes that he has died when his head touches the stone. However, it’s impossible to define what death is from these traditional and religious approaches.
The man unlike other living things can get information about death. However what he knows is not what death is or what it is like.
The man only has the information that he will die one day. With such information he can make various preparations about his or others death.
According to medicine it is known that the fact of death happens when it is ascertained that the functions of circulation and breathing stops without turning back and when the functions of brain including the brain stem stops.
For medicine which defines the death moment as losing the brain functions including brain stem, losing sefalic reflexes, ascertaining that the flow of brain blood has stopped by cerebral angiography and objective measurements like Elektroencephalagrom are measurements which define brain death. However it can be said that everyday a new ciritic is added to these medical ciritics about biological death. In medicine, organs and tissues transportation becoming common made the criters defining death checked again. And this puts the man who tries to understand death, face to face with various visions of biological death. If you put biological explanation aside and consider according to philosohy, it can be seen that the fact of death must be defined in connection with the man and his links with life. Human life has a specific meaning with the opportunities he has as a specie. Because the values depending on the human life inseparably, opportunities that the man has, is a matter of fact not everywhere the life exists but present in only human life. And the way the man dies is just one matter which makes his life meaningful. Because of this, to comment about the fact of death from the perspective of philosophy makes it necessary to form relations about the concept of individual. Because death is something that happens to man from aside. Besides, the one who performs the death; a doctor or someone else is an individual. Man is a creature who can think of a death which is honourable as much as a life which is an honourable one. When medicine and law are put forward, it can be said that euthanasia is simplified as a matter of fact between doctor and patient relations. Euthanasia which happens during the relation between the doctor and the patient should be seen just as one kind of euthanasia. The aim of the euthanasia which is a kind of action performed by the doctor should make sure to give an end to the pains, sufferings that can be lived because of the illness. Put aside using euthanasia in such a situtaion as a mean to stop the one’s pain and suffering, one’s giving an end to another one’s life, seeing the situations as single, can be taken as the actions of the people trying to defense the values.
Such a view and putting forward the circumstances result in a necessity to distingush the terms of euthanasia, suicide and murder.
Because all euthanasia, murder and suicide are ways to die. Murder; as an action of killing someone else, is one individual’s who has the condition to lead his life, being killed bye someone else.
On purpose or not, it is known that murder is generally forbidden in all societies and according to law it’s appraised that it’s a crime in various degrees. Suicide; as action of killing oneself; is done to give an end to the anxiety, depression or problems which emerge in the interest with himself.
In the conditions where social links are loose, loneliness the individual feels, having relations with the society in an extreme degree, economic and political crisis lived in society are the causes of suicides. Alcholism, race, inherity, psycho-organic position, climate, heat, physical surrounding, fear of losing someone, feeling quilty, physical pain, cronic illnesses, being desperate can be said as the reasons of commiting suicide which are not social. Beside geograhic, psycologic, etnic, social class and career factors religion, age and sex factors determine suicade rates.
The view of societies and individuals to suicade are different while some societies and individuals praise suicide; like accepting hara-kiri (cutting the stomach) as an hourable act by the traditional bliefs in Japan. Some societies punish even the body of the dead. Generally in all societies that have accepted the religions with one God, it is believed that the person who have committed a suicide will go to hell and suffer torment. In societis which have accepted Islam, if it’s known that the dead has committed a suicide his funeral prayer is not performed. Death is not only a biological event, it’s a philosophical fact including the etic considerations between one person and another.
From this point of view it can be said that an honorable or good death is a feasibility that can be realized. The time individual becomes unable to realize his humanity or the time when his biological and physical condition makes him unable to realize them can be decided as the death moment. In this sense, it can be said that euthanasia is an action of giving end to the life of someone, depending on his will but by someone else, in the name of protecting human’s value. But the person, who wants his life to be ended, while expressing such a will, he mustn’t destroy a principle aiming to protect human value. When it’s wanted that an action, like giving end to individual’s life, as an action which can protect humans value, it can be said it’s necessary for the one who will perform it to evaluate himself, the one he’s dealing with and his condition correctly but again it can be said that this is not a sufficent condition.
In such a situation it’s necessary to consider what kind of wills are the wills of the people on both side of this relation and the situation they are in. In a condition which a person who has been able to get the knowledge of the value problems, man’s special condition from the view of his relations with other existences, phenomens special to man and in a relation which is formed with another person and in which reliance is lived, the feasibility of euthanasia can be mentioned and thus; the question Can a person or people realize the act of giving end to life in the name of protecting humans value? can be answered and discussed.
And the person who has the belief that his life doesn’t worth living, must base his will on a reason in his condition. The will to end his life, only in this way can come out of being a wish or dream and can become a pure will that can be related to what is real and possible. This, also from the view of person, can mean opening the way to see the relation between his condition and man’s value and feasibilities.
The meaning of euthanasia in terms of medicine is that the physician put an end to the life of an individual suffering from a terminal illness or an incurable condition without pain.
The physician who is responsible for the life of his patient has duties about protecting and search everything about the patient’s life. However it can be seen more helpful to use these treatments not for the patients who are in deadly position but for the others who can be cured if the necessary treatments are used. In fact, the patient is not an object which is only cured and examined; on the other hand the physician is not an expert who only cures or examine. In medicine ethic like the other ethics of professions there are some approaches to solve the problems which can be faced in any situation using some basic principles and norms. For instance; trying to solve the problems such as transplantation, abortion and euthanasia in the light of Hippocratic Oath. Since the euthanasia is seen as illegal in Hippocratic Oath it is constantly advocated that the physician will not perform euthanasia.
I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Is the part of Hippocratic Oath. This oath firstly appeared in ancient age; however, it is known that some practices such as operation and abortion was practiced unlike Hippocratic Oath. The term of euthanasia can be divided into various groups according to the individual’s desire and the methods used in euthanasia. When we look from the patient’s point of view it can be divided into three groups as voluntary euthanasia, non voluntary euthanasia. On the other hand when we look at the physician’s point of view it can be divided into two groups as active and passive euthanasia. The voluntary euthanasia is where the patient’s strength of will is clearly open to euthanasia. The non voluntary euthanasia is where the person is unable to ask for euthanasia (perhaps they are unconscious or unable to communicate), because of immaturity such as a mental disability, mental or physical illness or coma. It has been observed that the involuntary euthanasia occurs when the person who dies wants to live and is against the matter of euthanasia but is killed anyway. However, it is open to the argument that in what way this event can be seen as euthanasia. It is seen that if a person using his strength of will against to the euthanasia is killed today, this action will be connected to the politic criminal.
This point is also the light of the view which is against to euthanasia become illegal because it carries social risk factor. Passive euthanasia is usually defined as speeding the patient’s death by withdrawing or ending medical treatment which provides the patient live longer. Active euthanasia is injecting the patient with drug in high-dose to cause the patient's death.
The evaluation of individual’s action as a crime in a legal concern can be faced in the terms of euthanasia.
Today, there are some legal arrangements about euthanasia.
Some of them observes the term of euthanasia as murderer and see it the same as killing someone deliberately. The other part of them evaluates euthanasia as different and independent crime and does not call it as killing someone deliberately however there should be some important sanctions about euthanasia.
Euthanasia is becoming legal in some countries in the frame of individual’s having rights to decide on living or dying. However it can be said that these regulations have also brought some problems. It is necessary to think and talk about euthanasia with detail before accepting or rejecting the action of ending an individual’s life. Voluntary euthanasia can be seen as legal in the U.S.A in its passive way and in Holland in both its active and passive way.
However, in the U.S.A voluntary active euthanasia is evaluated as murderer in the light of penal codes. In the Oregon state of the USA the action of physician-assisted-suicide is not accepted as crime according to the law arranged for euthanasia however euthanasia for the deadly patients is still accepted as crime for the same law.
According to the Holland penal codes it is a crime to take the life of another person despite person’s express and serious request. It is punishable by imprisonment for a maximum of 12 years and by fine. According to the Holland penal codes, person who encourages to the suicide, helps and supplies the tools for suicide is punished by imprisonment for a maximum of 3 years or by fine. However, the physicians who applies euthanasia can be released from the punishment in some occasions. If the person has to commit an offense in a coercive reason, his action is not seen as crime. In some countries such as Germany and Switzerland the penal codes evaluate the killing as a crime. In Australia parliament repealed the law authorizing voluntary passive euthanasia in 1997. we observe that lots of countries such as China, Poland, Romaine, Israel, Colombia, Denmark, and Greece are trying to arrange some legal regulations about euthanasia. In some countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Bulgarian, Swityzerland, Hungary, Italy, Belgium, France, Canada, England, Japan, Republic of South Africa and Turkey there are no regulations or arrangements about euthanasia. Such kind of action is evaluated as killing someone and its fine and quality is different. Finally, the dimension of this discussion and legalization of this action tends to the place and time of the euthanasia not the term of euthanasia itself. However legal dead is accepted as legal event and requires legal results. Because of this reason, it can be said that euthanasia is an important subject which requires regardful observation when we think of its appearing results on the legal law.