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Enthanasia- Devices, Drugs, Classification and Legalities

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2018-03-12 22:53:26

This short topic discusses important aspects of enthanasia for medical professionals. Topic Includes:

  • Definition
  • Classification and types
  • Legalities of Euthanasia
  • Euthanasia Drugs
  • Euthanasia Devices


Euthanasia (Greek Eu [good], Thanos [death]) is deliberate medical termination of life or removal of life support  treatments of a terminally ill patient to put an end to his/her suffering.


On the basis of consent:-

  • Voluntary - Consent given by person who wants euthanasia.
  • Non- Voluntary - The person getting euthanasia can not give consent due to coma or mental state. The consent is thus given by familiy members or court.
  • In-Voluntary - Without any consent.

On the basis of method

  • Active - (mercy killing) use of lethal drugs or methods to force death.
  • Passive - (pulling the plug) Withdrawal of life support treatment.

Legalities of Enthanasia

Passive enthanasia is legal in India, Netherlands, Belgium, Columbia, Luxemburg, and Canada.

Active euthanasia is legal is Switzerland, Germany, Japan, California and in many U.S. states.

South Korea (both active and passive) and Australian state of Victoria (active) are soon going to legalize euthanasia.

Non-voluntary and In-voluntary  euthanasia are not legal in any country. Thus in all countries where euthanasia is legal the patient's consent is mandatory which is also called "Living Will".

Germany under Nazi rule had legalized In-voluntary euthanasia of thousands of handicapped people.

Euthanasia Drugs

Most common Drugs used for Euthanasia are barbiturates.Most commonly used ones are :-

  • Secobarbital sodium
  • Pentobarbital
  • Sodium Thiopental

Other drugs include carbon monooxide, inhalation or Nitrogen etc.

In united states secobarbital and pentobarbital are most common drugs used for active euthanasia.

In Netherlands individuals have two options. They can either :

  • consume 100 ml of concentrated syruph containing either 15gm of pentobarbital or 15 gm of secobarbital or
  • they could chooose to have 2gm of thiopental or 1 gm of propofol administered i.v. by a doctor followed by a muscle relaxant.

Euthanasia Devices

A machine engineered to allow allow an individual to die quickily with minimal pain. May be self operated or operated by physician. Example include:

Sarco Euthanasia Machine

Invented by- Dr. Philip Nitchke (Dr. Death)

It is a 3d printed machine capsule which can later be detached and used as coffin. Users need to complete and online questionare to get code to activate the machine. Once user enters the capsule and activates the machine, nitrogen starts to flow inside and the individual dies within minutes due to oxygen deprivation.


Invented by Jack Kevorkian

Push button based i.v. delivery of euthanizing drugs. It has 3 canisters:

  1. Containing saline
  2. Containing sleep inducing barbiturate ( Sodium Thiopental)
  3. COntaining mixure of potassium chloride (immediately stops heart) and pancuronium bromide (paralytic medication to stop spasms during dying).


Invented by: Jack Kevorkian

It has a face mask with a tube attached to a tank of carbon monoxide to assist death by carbon monoxide poisoning.

Delivery Machine

Invented by : Dr. Philip Nitchke

Its a special laptop connected to i.v. line of patient. A computer program asks a questionaire and on completion injects a lethal dose of barbiturates.


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