Q&A Snippet: “Is it justifiable to withdraw life support from a dying child to “minimize suffering”?”
There are (at least) three necessary conditions for the occurrence of passive euthanasia:
1) there is withdrawing or withholding of life-prolonging/sustaining treatment
2) the main purpose/intent (or one of the main purposes/intents) of this withdrawing or withholding is to bring about (or “hasten”) the patient’s death
3) the reason for “hastening” death is that dying (or dying sooner rather than later) is in the patient’s own best interests (eg to minimize the perceived suffering of the patient, to “send him on his way” to God, etc).
We should note that not all cases of withdrawing or withholding life-prolonging/sustaining treatment are cases of passive euthanasia. Often, the justifications for passive euthanasia are, as we have seen, the interests of patients, where their expected quality of life is so poor (eg intense suffering, bad quality of life, etc) that life will be worse for them than death.
We are reminded that euthanasia in all its forms is unacceptable.