The word Euthanasia has been derived from a Greek word which means “good death”. It refers to intentionally ending someone’s life to relieve his/her suffering or pain. It should never be misunderstood as killing.
In India, the debate was surfaced with the case of a patient who was working at a hospital in Mumbai. While on her duty, Aruna Shanbagh, was strangled and sodomised by a sweeper working in the same hospital. During this incidence. She was strangled with a chain, asphyxiation cut off oxygen supply to her brain, resulting in brain stem contusion injury and cervical cord injury due to which she was in vegetative state ever since. She is being treated at the same hospital and has been kept alive on a feeding tube. Considering her painful situation, a petition was filed by a social activists in Supreme Court of India which argued that “continued existence of the patient is violation of her right to live with dignity” although the petition was rejected to discontinue the life of patient, but is issued broad guidelines to legalise passive euthanasia in India.
According to these guidelines, passive euthanasia meant removal of support system like medical facilities or food from the patient. The other major aspects which were included in ruling were “the decision to discontinue the life has to be taken by parents, spouse, close relative or in absence of them, any person acting as next friend”. Also after such decision has been taken by the relatives, it must be approved by concerned High Court to exercise euthanasia. The two judge bench to look into the matter and present a report to the relatives before the judgement. It was indeed a landmark judgement.
Hence, the issue of ending life has become of prime importance in the fiels of medical sciences in India. Also, until the law is enacted the possibility of its misuse remains a major threat to disturb the fabric of the society.
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