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Euthanasia is one of the most controversial and debatable topic in the contemporary medical
ethics scenario. Euthanasia, also termed by many as assisted suicide or mercy killing, is
defined as painless death available to patients having an incurable disease or a condition
which leads the sufferer to extreme misery and pain and about which no known interventions
to reverse exist. Termination of life in euthanasia can either be active, or passive in the sense
that medical help, supports and assistance is withheld leading to death of the patient due to
his or her inability to survive without medical assistance and supports.
Coming to the euthanasia being controversial and debatable, differences exist between
various societies, cultures, religions and populations because of the variations in their social,
moral and ethical beliefs. Different people view and value its pros and cons differently based
on their belief systems. To understand the debate, an insight into the pros and cons of
euthanasia is required which are discussed as follows.
There are many pros of euthanasia which are assumed to be its perceived advantages. First of
all, it provides a way to end an indefinite suffering or misery. For example, in cases of trauma
leading to head injury, often the damage to brain matter is so extensive that due to the limited
regeneration capacity of the nervous tissue in the brain, it is impossible to meet recovery
despite waiting for years on respiratory or medical support. A number of medical conditions
can also lead to such comatose conditions for example cerebro-vascular incidents called
stroke can lead to indefinite and potentially irreversible coma. In such cases, life of the

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patient is considered to be worse than death and the condition is not only perceived to be
miserable for the patient but for his or her loved ones too. This is psychologically quite
traumatic for the attendants and loved ones of such patients and they often seek a graceful
and easy way to alleviate their suffering by opting for euthanasia. Similarly, the miserable life
of such patients may not match their glorious past or reputation and is thought of as being
doing more harm to their existence than being dead with dignity.
Healthcare resources and especially those aimed at prolonging the life of terminally ill
patients are scarce and valuable. Euthanasia provides an opportunity to free up these limited
resources for the benefit of those who can get better outcomes from the use of such resources.
Although this is not much of an advantage from the perspective of the patient and the family,
but in the larger picture, it becomes so in the interest of the community as well as healthcare
service providers which can dedicate the funds, resources, equipment and care to those who
can derive maximum benefit from it. A noticeable human attribute is their ability to control
their surroundings and the way they live. This holds true for death as well. Euthanasia
provides an opportunity for all people to opt for the termination of their life once things are
beyond their control or beyond their hopes and the same is endorsed by evidence from
medical science. In such cases, euthanasia provides an opportunity to exercise their basic
right of having control over their lives by choosing death over a miserable life.
The cons of euthanasia are as numerous as its pros. The very notion of value of life is
undermined by the practice of euthanasia. Value of life is the sanctity and preciousness
attached with human life and euthanasia, although for good, is aimed at terminating it which

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Very useful material for studying!