SC consent for passive euthanasia hailed
TIRUCHI, MARCH 10, 2018 00:00 IST
UPDATED: MARCH 10, 2018 05:33 IST
“Guidelines will thwart misuse”
The medical fraternity here has welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision permitting passive euthanasia for terminally ill patients or persons in persistent vegetative state with no hope of recovery.
The Supreme Court’s observation that right to die with dignity was a fundamental right was a landmark development, M.A. Aleem, president of Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry Association of Neurologists, said.
While permitting passive euthanasia by recognising the right of human beings to die with dignity, the five-judge Constitution bench of Chief Justice (CJI) Dipak Misra and Justices A.K.Sikri, A.M.Khanwilkar, D. Y. Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan assured to set out strict guidelines.
The medical community had always been in favour of passive euthanasia for terminally ill patients with no scope for recovery.
The guidelines would eliminate any scope for unscrupulous elements misusing the provision permitting euthanasia for promoting organ donation or trade, Dr. Aleem said.
The apex court had also allowed an individual to draft a living will specifying that they need not be put on life support if they slipped into an incurable coma in the future. In a “living will,” a person could make a statement in advance that his life should not be prolonged by putting him on a ventilator or an artificial support system. The “living will,” the Constitution Bench had stated, should be allowed, because an individual should not be allowed to continue suffering in a vegetative state when he did not wish to continue living.
The Constitution Bench’s reasoning that the right to live with dignity also includes the smoothening of the process of dying for terminally ill patients and those in permanent vegetative state should be accepted, said Surendran, president of Indian Medical Association, Tiruchi branch,. The Supreme Court’s ruling must be discussed in detail at the IMA Central Council meeting shortly, he said.