Here’s a very helpful resource in debating euthanasia: the code of practice for the regional euthanasia review committees in the Netherlands in English. (This is a link to a PDF. Choose the second option to download the file.)These are the guidelines which doctors must follow in carrying out euthanasia. For those who cannot read Dutch, the fine details of the legislation and regulation have been difficult to reference. Now they are available in a definitive form.
Here are some relevant paragraphs:
It is often said that the [e Termination of Life on Request and Assisted Suicide (Review Procedures) Act] legalised euthanasia. In formal terms, this is not the case. Under articles 293 and 294 of the Criminal Code, euthanasia is prohibited in the Netherlands, except in the event that it is performed by a physician who has complied with all the due care criteria set out in the Act (see below) and has notified the municipal pathologist in question. …
The Act says nothing about the patient’s life expectancy. In cases where the statutory due care criteria have been fulfilled, the patient’s life expectancy plays no role. In practice, it will often be limited, but the Act does not rule out granting a request for euthanasia from a patient who might have many years to live. The key elements are the voluntary, well-considered nature of the patient’s request, the unbearable nature of his suffering and the absence of any prospect of improvement. There is no provision in the Act that euthanasia may only be performed in the ‘terminal stage’. …
The fact that the above due care criteria have been met does not mean that the physician is obliged to comply with a patient’s request for euthanasia. Patients have no right to euthanasia, and physicians no duty to perform it. It is generally wise for a physician to inform the patient at an early stage if he does not want to perform euthanasia, so that the patient can, if desired, approach another physician.
Ali defeated Sonny Liston in 1964
The death of Muhammed Ali at the age of 74 is reminder of the uneasy ethical status of boxing. Only in boxing is the brain the target. Ali’s Parkinson’s disease was probably a result of punishing blows to the head over the course of his career. Gloves probably make the problem worse, as they increase the weight and the force of impact. Headgear may not protect boxers from rotational acceleration.
John Hardy, a neuroscientist at University College London, wrote a couple years ago: “nothing can be more killing of joy than personality changes, violence, substance abuse and dementia. I also think it is demeaning as a society for people to get pleasure out of watching others fight and that we should consign this public spectacle, as we have done public executions, to the dustbin of history.”
What do you think? Should professional boxing be banned? It seems hard to justify a sport which, in the words of Joe Frazier, who beat Ali in the brutal “fight of the century” in 1971, “boxing is the only sport you can get your brain shook, your money took and your name in the undertaker book.”
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