Distinction between euthanasia and valid medical decision and its impact on unborn life.
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The article is dedicated to revealing those aspects which allow to distinguish euthanasia from valid medical decisions which are made by physicians within the scope of the care of incurably ill persons and their impact on the issue regarding yet unborn life. As in separate forms of euthanasia and the realisation of its kinds, analogies of valid medical procedure are observed, the article analyses the most common cases when the decision made by the physician and the resultant action or omission of the action binds him/her to unjustified criminal judgement by revealing the fundamental features which approve the legitimacy of the decision made, thus distinguishing it from the criminal offence, which is considered to be in most countries around the world, i.e. euthanasia. Within the scope of research, it is concluded that nowadays passive non-voluntary euthanasia cannot be applied to the cases when artificial life-sustaining measures are terminated upon the patients who are diagnosed brain dead, coma or a persistent vegetative state, as in all these cases a compulsory prerogative of performance for every form of euthanasia and its kinds is missing, i.e. excruciating pain and sufferings caused by incurable disease, which a patient shall not only feel, but also realise. However, a different judicial assessment is regarded to such applicability of medical aids or methods, the undesired side-effect of which is related to shortening of lifespan or even death of a patient, which results from the “double-effect principle”. In such cases, valid medical procedure can be talked about if separate applicability of medication or enhancing of the dosage, or deep and continuous palliative sedation is based on the necessity to release incurably ill person from pain and sufferings caused by disease not to cause his/ her death and only then when under concrete clinical conditions it cannot be done by other sources or approaches. Considering that the cases analysed in the article can affect yet unborn life, in every such situation prior performing any medical manipulation, in the result of which death of an incurably ill pregnant woman will or can occur, physicians shall assess the possibilities of sustaining the unborn life and do their best to reach this aim.
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