Euthanasia: an act, omission, or both, to end the life of an individual so that suffering may be eliminated.
Euthanasia can be an action such as a lethal injection, drug overdose, smothering or shooting — sometimes called “mercy killing.” Euthanasia can be an omission such as withholding or withdrawal of needed medical treatment and/or care, including food and water, with the intention to cause or hasten death.
In the case of stealth euthanasia, it can be both an action and an omission: the act of sedating the patient while omitting the provision of food and fluids so that death is imposed. It is never merciful or ethical to impose death as a solution to human problems.
Assisted Suicide: self-killing with the assistance of another such as a physician, friend, relative, or individual who promotes assisted suicide. The
means — drugs, plastic bag, gun, instructions, or counseling — may be provided by another, but the act is committed by the person being killed.
Euthanasia, stealth euthanasia and assisted suicide are forms of imposed death. Death may be imposed in order to eliminate suffering, the burden of caring for the victim, or the cost of medical treatment and care. A person’s desire not to live in dependence upon others does not justify the rejection of life-sustaining or life-saving measures or the request for assisted suicide. Life is God’s precious gift to each of us. It is right to treasure and protect life. It is always and everywhere wrong to devalue and reject it.
However, the refusal of unduly burdensome medical treatment by the patient or surrogate decision-maker is not wrong and is not imposed death. When death is imminent (that is, expected within hours or a few days), providing only comfort measures is beneficial to the patient and, therefore, both medically and morally appropriate. There is a world of difference between intending the death of a patient and allowing a patient to die when the time naturally arrives.
For more information about euthanasia and assisted suicide, see:
Imposed Death: Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide, a supplement from Human Life Alliance with excellent articles on euthanasia, life-support, the persistent vegetative state, hospice, organ donation and more.
Stealth Euthanasia: Health Care Tyranny in America (Hospice, Palliative Care and Health Care Reform), a full-length online book explaining the realities of the culture of death in the healthcare industry, the threats that exist, what this means for the patient and what can be done to bring reform.
Also see: Confusing Language Masks Deadly Agenda