Active euthanasia requires some direct action which leads to death. There is not a withdrawal of life-support systems, but some affirmative action which speeds up or results in a person's death. The important point is that this type of euthanasia is done to a person who would otherwise die of natural causes. In this way, the death is sped up rather than caused. It is also important to note that active euthanasia is not the same as a mercy killing. A mercy killing occurs when the patient is unable to direct another person. In the active euthanasia situation, by contrast, the patient is aware of what is happening and is able to direct the acts of euthanasia. Thus, the patient agrees to this course of action. There are no questions as to the patient's intent. In sum, active euthanasia is the speeding up of a person's death. This person consents to the euthanasia and would, in any event, die of natural causes.
There are many arguments in support of this particular type of euthanasia. As an initial matter, both common people and medical professionals argue in large numbers that prolonging a terminal illness causes unnecessary pain and suffering for the patient and for the patient's friends and family. As mentioned, the person is going to die. Why, then, should we as a moral society force these types of patients to suffer extreme physical and emotional pain Would it not be more ethical to relieve them of this pain, and cut short the trauma and the mental torture Another argument in support of active euthanasia is the stress caused to the family of the patient. There is certainly emotional pain; in addition, there may be many financial problems, too. Advanced medical care is expensive and health insurance is not always available or adequate to cover all of the medical expenses.
In addition to the arguments dealing with the pain, suffering, and financial burdens associated with prolonging a terminally ill patient, there are also arguments that focus on the dignity of the patient. This is not the same thing as pain and suffering. The dignity refers to a patient's right to decide his own future. It is the patient's body, his illness, and it is presumptuous and authoritarian to take away a patient's right to determine his own treatment and fate. A patient is a free human being, and as such has the right to reject medical advice or to demand the onset of death or the withdrawal of life-sustaining medical treatments. This type of argument, however, assumes that the person is rational and not suffering from a mental illness.
A final type of argument in support of active euthanasia is concerned more with society than with an individual patient or his family. There is an argument that medical resources are limited, often expensive, and that it would be foolish to waste these resources on patients who are going to die anyway. Why allocate precious resources to a losing situation when they might be better and more effectively used on other patients In sum, there are many arguments in favor of active euthanasia. First, this practice can relieve the patient of pain and suffering. Second , it can relieve his family from emotional pain and possible financial disasters. Third, this is a personal and private decision which should be made by the individual patient. Finally, it is foolish to waste precious medical resources on pati