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What is euthanasia?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

Euthanasia, also known as mercy killing, is the intentional ending of life that is deemed beneficial for a person who is suffering. Euthanasia is a general term that includes the possibility of intervening to end life by action or allowing for life to end through omitting care, or providing the individual with everything needed to kill themselves as in assisted suicide. The term euthanasia also allows for the possibility of the act being voluntarily requested, not requested or consented to, or against the wishes of the person killed. Euthanasia is a highly debated topic among medical professionals, religious groups, and others interested in life and death issues.

Rick Sayegh
Rick Sayegh on behalf of MDLIVE
Internal Medicine
The term euthanasia without a qualifying phrase means voluntary active euthanasia; that is, the physician intentionally ends the patient's life at the patient's request and with the patient's full informed consent.

Medical Oncologist Dr. Devon Webster explains euthanasia. Watch Dr. Webster's video for tips and information on cancer and end-of-life choices.


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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.