Euthanasia is defined as the act by which some (usually one physician ) either kills a person (usually a severe ill patient ) or helps the person to commit suicide , on the basis of the person’s direct request for help to die.

The terms euthanasia, euthanasia and assisted death is often used synonymously with euthanasia. Euthanasia is divided into two forms: Euthanasia (the doctor gives the patient a lethal injection ) and assisted suicide (the doctor equips the patient with a lethal dose of medicine that the patient can choose to adopt).

The terminology used is considered controversial: Euthanasia is a controversial topic in public debate in several countries. Also the terminology is disputed [1] . The terms used in this article, and actions linked to the concepts, is consistent with how the euthanasia, assistance to suicide and treatment limitation is regulated by Norwegian law (see Penal Code [2] , the Patients Rights Act [3] ) and ethical rules for Norwegian doctors [4] . Furthermore, the use of terminology here in line with the definitions in Norwegian Encyclopedia [5] and [6] . Note that the use of euthanasia debate can be used to promote the values and preferences.

What is euthanasia?

Active euthanasia means that a person, usually a doctor, performs an action whose primary purpose and result that another person (usually a seriously ill patient) dies.

The action must be such that death is an expected and intended result of the action. Therefore it is not considered in the legal sense that euthanasia if a health worker produces dose medication in order to alleviate pain, but where the patient dies as a side effect of the drugs. This is called “double effect”. If you should have understood that the dose was greater than what was needed to relieve symptoms, and possibly also result in death, it is not considered as euthanasia, but that irresponsible health care or possibly manslaughter . Euthanasia will only happen when the purpose and dose calculation was such that death was the desired and expected outcomes.

It is a prerequisite for calling the action euthanasia that person expressly asked for help to die, and that person is regarded as being able to give consent ( “competent to give consent”). If such request is not available, or if the person is not consent-competent (eg due to dementia or severe mental illness), called the action is not euthanasia, but intentional or premeditated murder. In some countries where euthanasia is permitted, a statement from the patient earlier in life (a so-called “living wills”) replace the requirement that the patient should explicitly be asked to die there and then. In such cases, the doctor determines that the conditions to end the patient’s life is present.

A form of euthanasia is (medical) assisted suicide, where the doctor’s action is to equip the patient with drugs, where the dose is intended that the patient will die of it. That is when the patient himself who conduct suicide. This form of euthanasia is allowed in Switzerland , and the American states Oregon [7] , Washington , Vermont and California [8] .