Euthanasia vs. Living Will

Difference Between Euthanasia And Living Will

Euthanasia (a “good death”) generally refers to hastening death for a merciful motive. It is usually distinguished from suicide (self-killing). This distinction has become blurred, but a distinction is still made between assisted suicide, in which the one who is to die takes the last step toward bringing about the death, and homicide-on-request, in which someone else takes the action at the request of the person to be killed. The term euthanasia is sometimes used broadly to include forgoing life support or extraordinary treatments, often called passive euthanasia. The term is also defined more narrowly, to active interventions, such as injecting a lethal drug; this is known as active euthanasia.

A living will is a written statement of wishes by a competent adult regarding the future use, withholding, or withdrawal of extraordinary medical measures if the person becomes terminally ill and incapable of making decisions. In the United States, more than 40 states have statutes covering this eventuality. Such statutes generally define the conditions under which life-sustaining procedures will be continued or ended, stipulate requirements for witnesses of the written statement, and spell out certification by physicians involved.

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