Allow active euthanasia
This refers to the editorial “Yes to euthanasia” (May 20). It was really tragic that Aruna Shanbaug, an unfortunate rape victim, had to be in a totally vegetative state for 42 long years before she was finally able to get a ‘favourable’ verdict from the God, but not from the courts because the existing Indian legal system does not allow for active euthanasia in our country. The editorial justifiably makes a strong case for having such a rare option for a terminally-ill patient who has no chance of recovery,, despite the availability of modern medical facilities. Perhaps the unaffordable, exorbitant costs of undergoing a long-drawn treatment, accompanied by unimaginable pain and agony, in cases like cancer, among others, could be well behind such an unpleasant yet a forced decision. Moreover, the government cannot be expected to come to the patients ‘aid’ every time, more so when the case is virtually lost and could stretch for an indefinite period. So, why subject the patients to prolonged physical and mental torture? Some times, even the relatives of a few extremely poor families are seen thinking on the similar lines. Since these unfortunate patients truly deserve a merciful release from their never-ending miseries, a well worked-out active euthanasia policy, with safeguards, should be introduced on humanitarian grounds that would apply in specific cases. It may, however, be ensured that each such request for “death by choice” should be examined and duly approved by an autonomous medico-legal body which may comprise eminent jurists and doctors placed on this Board on the recommendations of the Supreme Court and the Medical Council of India.
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