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In medicine, dysthanasia means "bad death"[1] and is considered a common fault of modern medicine.[2]

Dysthanasia is a term generally used when a person is kept alive artificially, in a condition where otherwise they cannot survive; sometimes for some sort of ulterior motive.[citation needed] Dysthanasia occurs when a person who is dying has their biological life extended through technological means without regard to the person's quality of life.[3] Technologies such as an implantable cardioverter defibrillator,[4] artificial ventilation, ventricular assist devices, and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation can extend the dying process. In some cases, cardiopulmonary resuscitation can be considered a form of dysthanasia.[5][6]

The term was used frequently in the investigation into the death of Formula One driver Ayrton Senna in 1994.[citation needed]

The etymology of the term is from the Greek language: δυσ, dus; "bad, difficult" + θάνατος, thanatos; "death".

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kothari, M; Mehta, L; Kothari, V (2000). "Cause of death--so-called designed event acclimaxing timed happenings". Journal of Postgraduate Medicine. 46 (1): 43–51. PMID 10855082.
  2. ^ Batchelor, A; Jenal, L; Kapadia, F; Streat, S; et al. (2003). "Ethics roundtable debate: Should a sedated dying patient be wakened to say goodbye to family?". Critical Care. 7 (5): 335–8. doi:10.1186/cc2329. PMC 270714. PMID 12974961.
  3. ^ de Menezes, MB; Selli, L; de Souza, AJ (August 2009). "Dysthanasia: Nursing professionals' perception". Revista Latino-Americana de Enfermagem. 17 (4): 443–8. doi:10.1590/S0104-11692009000400002. PMID 19820848.
  4. ^ Kaufman, SR; Mueller, PS; Ottenberg, AL; Koenig, BA (2011). "Ironic technology: Old age and the implantable cardioverter defibrillator in US health care". Social Science & Medicine. 72 (1): 6–14. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2010.09.052. PMC 3032945. PMID 21126815.
  5. ^ European Resuscitation Council Guidelines 2021: Ethics of resuscitation and end of life decisions
  6. ^ The culture of dysthanasia: attempting CPR in terminally ill children

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