Since the beginning of this website, we’ve constantly received the same question: what is the difference between euthanasia and assisted suicide? We believe that having facts and information is important so we wanted to take this opportunity to discuss the distinct difference between the two.
What is Euthanasia?
Otherwise called ‘mercy killing’, this is the when the physician in attendance over the patient personally administers any sort of medication that leads the patient to death. There are other forms of euthanasia beyond the usage of a lethal dose of medication. These are:
- “Pulling the plug” – this happens when the family of the patient with the suggestion or explanation of the physician removes the patient from life-support. In this case, the patient is normally in a vegetative state and therefore would not be able to survive by themselves anymore.
- Complete Sedation – this refers to the doctor administering sedatives on the patient to pretty much put them in a coma. From then, the patient is left to die of ‘natural causes’ or whatever it is that they were sick with to begin with. The illness will take its course but the patient will not realize any of it.
What is Assisted Suicide?
Assisted suicide is when a person seeks to end their life in painless ways through the help of someone else. This is would be when a person goes to a doctor and asks for a lethal dose of drugs. The difference from euthanasia being it will be the patient themselves who will administer the lethal does unto themselves rather than the doctor being the one to do it.
A lot of people do not think that assisted suicide should be permissible if the person seeking death is not sick in any way. While there are a lot of states in the USA like California which specifies that a person needs to be over 18 and needs to be suffering from a terminal illness, there are places in the world that do not have this limitation.
While there is a distinct difference between the concept of euthanasia and assisted suicide, it does not change the fact that both changes more than one life. It completely changes the life of the ones who decide to undergo it and it also affects the family members and personal network of that person. While the result might be the same, we ask that everyone remember that this is a personal decision. Even if we do not understand it, this does not make it any less valid.
In your understanding, what’s the critical difference between euthanasia and assisted suicide?