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             Many people in North America die what may be called a bad death, a death in which a person endures unnecessary pain to live a few extra days. More often than not patients die in pain, their desires concerning treatment ignored, after having spent ten or more days in the intensive care unit. Why should these patients be forced to live in pain? Why should they not be given the option to die? This option is called euthanasia, which in Greek means good death. People should not be obligated to live if they believe that death would be preferable to their suffering; they should be given the choice of euthanasia. Most people who claim to be against euthanasia do not understand what it is. It used to be called mercy killing and perhaps that is easier to understand. It is mercifully giving a person who is terminally ill, and feels his or her life in not worth living because of intractable pain, loss of dignity or loss of capability, the option of being assisted in dying. It is not whether a physician or another person should be able to take the initiative to kill a patient because the patient must take the initiative. It is not whether a person should be allowed to commit suicide, because in most courts suicide is legal. It is not whether death squads should periodically visit hospitals in order to kill off patients not contributing anything to society, because this image is only used to scare people. Euthanasia is the act or practice of painlessly putting to death a person who is suffering from a painful and incurable disease or an incapacitating physical disorder. There are two methods of euthanasia, active and passive. Passive euthanasia is the cessation of treatment designed to sustain life that can no longer sustain itself. Examples of passive euthanasia are taking a person off of a ventilator or removing feeding tubes. Active euthanasia is causing the death of a person through a direct action.

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