Does the distinction between killing and letting die justify some formsof euthanasia?

Authors

  • Alison Dines BSc MA RGN RHV RHVT FWT PGCEA

    1. Lecturer, Department of Nursing Studies, King's College, University of London, Cornwall House Annex, Waterloo Road, London SE1 8TX, England
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Abstract

Nurses will often be at the forefront in a health care team which decides that it is ethically acceptable to allow a particular patient to die butthe possibility of actually killing another patient who requests his own death is met with heartfelt resistance This paper explores the distinction between killing and letting die and the connection these arguments have withjustifications for euthanasia Two practical examples of killing and lettingdie are analysed Various issues are examined including the active-passive distinction, the difference between causing and preventing a death and the probability of outcome Justifications for euthanasia are then revisited and some concluding remarks made

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