If euthanasia were allowed it could be carried out in
Active euthanasia. This would be by a positive act to bring
about death by directly administering a drug.
euthanasia. This would involve the withdrawal of treatment (or food) so as
to hasten death. Involuntary euthanasia. The ending of a person's life without
any indication that such was the wish of the person concerned.
Voluntary euthanasia. The ending of a person's life at their
request. A law to allow this is what pressure groups are wanting.
Non-voluntary euthanasia. This involves the ending of the life
of a person who does not have the faculty to make a decision whether to live or
Suicide. This is a form of self-administered euthanasia and
is an act of self-destruction. Since 1961 suicide is no longer a felony, but to
assist someone to do so is still an offence. There was the case of a Mrs Pretty
who requested permission from the Courts (including the European Court of Human
Rights) for her husband to take her life, but was refused. She did die a few
The definition of suicide has not changed, but the public's
attitude to it has changed. It is becoming recognised as an act of
self-release, but it is still self-killing. The stigma surrounding it has
largely ceased, and very often the Coroner's verdict carries a compassionate
tone. It may be described as the taking of life, "whilst the balance of mind
Living Wills. This is an advance directive (given when the
person concerned is of a sound mind) which stipulates the health, management
and treatment that they wish to receive in the event of any future incapacity
to make such decisions, nor be able to convey any instructions when such
circumstances arise. The document can also stipulate what treatment they do not
wish to receive, eg resuscitation. There is however an eventuality that a
Living Will does not (and cannot) cover; that is when the time comes and they
wish to revoke the former decision but have not the facility to convey the
change of mind. Such cases would probably be rare.