Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Spanish region drafts euthanasia law?

I have included a link to the article on the supposed euthanasia law in Spain because this article shows how confusion about definitions can possibly lead to false conclusions.

The article says - euthanasia law which would allow terminally ill patients to refuse medical treatment and make it illegal to keep someone alive by artificial means.

This does not mean that they are legalizing euthanasia. Euthanasia is an action or omission of an action that directly and intentionally causes death. The article refers to refusing or withdrawing medical treatment. When death occurs after the refusal or withdrawal of medical treatment, the death is rarely euthanasia but rather a natural death.

The article also says - Patients will be able to "refuse or stop any treatment or medical intervention even if this could put their lives at risk" and will have the right to "receive treatment against pain, including palliative sedatives".

To refuse or to stop any treatment or medical intervention is not euthanasia unless the decision is to remove fluids and food from someone who is not otherwise dying. If fluids and food are intentionally removed from someone who is not otherwise dying in order to directly cause the death of the person, then that is euthanasia.

To receive treatment for pain, including palliative sedatives is not euthanasia unless the physician intentionally overdoses the person and directly causes death.

Finally, the case of Inmaculata Echevarria who asked to have her respiratory turned off last year was not a case of euthanasia. Inmaculata died a natural death.

If the region of Andalucia in southwest Spain actually intends to legalize euthanasia, this article does not indicate that this is the case.

Link to original article:

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