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n. the act or process of terminating a life, usually to prevent further suffering in an incurably or terminally ill individual. Voluntary euthanasia requires the consent of a competent person who has established a valid advance directive or made his or her wishes otherwise clearly known. Euthanasia is distinguished from the much more widely accepted practice of forgoing invasive treatments, as permitted under natural-death laws throughout the United States. Traditionally, a distinction between passive euthanasia (withholding treatment) and active euthanasia (taking directly lethal action) has been made. In current practice, however, the term euthanasia typically is used to mean active euthanasia only. The practice of and debate over euthanasia in various forms have a long history going back to Ancient Greece (the term itself derives from the Greek: eu, “good, well,” and thanatos, “death”). Worldwide, legal and ethical questions persist to this day about the circumstances under which, in the absence of an advance directive, euthanasia can and cannot be pursued, as famously occurred, for example, in the case of Terri Schaivo, a Florida woman in a permanent vegetative state who died in 2005 after her life support was discontinued following a lengthy court battle. Ethical questions apply as well to the euthanasia of nonhuman animals, particularly concerning whether it is ethical to terminate the lives of healthy animals in shelters and zoos. See also assisted death. —euthanize vb.

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Psychology term of the day

February 26th 2024

spasmodic dysphonia

spasmodic dysphonia

a rare voice disorder with symptoms including momentary periods of uncontrolled vocal spasms, stuttering, tightness in the throat, and recurrent hoarseness. The cause is unknown, but the condition may be attributed to a neurological or physiological disturbance or to psychological factors. Spasmodic dysphonia (formerly known as spastic dysphonia) particularly affects public speakers.