According to Singer, there are three types of euthanasia involving conditions when terminally ill patients express their wish to end their lives. These types include voluntary, non-voluntary and involuntary euthanasia. All these terms are quite complicated and there is no unanimous definition of those, but Singer provides his own vision of justified killing.
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With regard to voluntary euthanasia, the author presents three cases of live termination where patients differently express their decision to die. All the cases show that voluntary euthanasia is the act that is carried out toward a person who either makes a written request to die, or expresses his/her decision orally. Hence, if a person consciously consents to die, there are no chances for recovery, and killing is the only way to deprive a patient from pain and suffering, euthanasia can be regarded as voluntary.
The author also provides a strict distinction between voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide. In this regard, when a person wants to die because there are no any chances for recovery, he/she can ask to provide some tablet or injections for terminating their lives in the situation being carefully discussed before. Singer also analyzes the role of doctors in committing the act of euthanasia and justifies their decisions.
The author’s views on voluntary euthanasia are quite objective, but still some cases, particularly George Zygmaniak case, cannot be regarded as voluntary euthanasia because this act was not morally and legally approved. In other cases, Singer’s judgments are quite consistent and logical because people who provided their consent either as a written request or in oral form has the right to voluntary euthanasia even if they are incapable of expressing his/her wish right before the act.
If a terminally ill patient does not agree on being killed because he is incapable to do so, this act can be called as involuntary euthanasia. In this regard, there is a great difference between patients who have not asked to be killed, but would have agreed on, if asked, and those who are killed without their consent if they choose to live.
Besides, the case of killing can also be regarded as involuntary euthanasia when a person committing this act wants to deprive a terminally ill patient from unbearable sufferings and pains, but in this case, the performer neglects patient’s personal wishes and decisions. This definition is quite strict and Singer has managed to describe this act in the most accurate manner.
According to Singer, there is a slight line between involuntary and non-voluntary euthanasia because in both cases, a patient is incapable to express his/her consent on euthanasia. Therefore, this provokes a number of contradictions.
First, there is no obvious evidence whether a person chooses to die or to live and in such case it is hard to decide whether the act euthanasia is justifiable. Second, if a patient suffers greatly and there are no chances for recovery, a person assisting in killing cannot be approved. Finally, although there are legal and medical justifications, all types of euthanasia contradict the laws of morale and religion.
Nevertheless, some assumptions put forward by Singer are quite reasonable, no matter how shocking they might seem. In particular, if a patient is incurably ill and provides no physical and mental signs of life, non-voluntary euthanasia is the only way out in this situation. In general, Singer’s justifications and statements are quite accurate and provide rigid distinctions between all types of euthanasia.