The topic of euthanasia has always been a controversial one.
The term "passive euthanasia" is defined as the withdrawal of life support, treatment or nutrition with the deliberate intention to hasten a terminally ill-patient's death. Strict conditions would be attached to the will for the execution of passive euthanasia. The Bench comprising Chief Justice P Sathasivam and Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Shiva Kirti Singh while citing the judgment in Gian Kaur v.
But the judge held that active euthanasia is unlawful.
The Supreme Court has allowed passive euthanasia in the country.
What is a 'Living Will?' The couple wrote that they have led a satisfactory life together after being married for 68 years and do not wish to live anymore.
Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Vice President of CMAAO, said, "In passive euthanasia, the life support system of a terminally ill patient who is in a vegetative state is withdrawn. At least now it is a clear scene for doctors, patients and insurance companies who will have clarity on what is permitted and what is not".
Mention that the executor may revoke the instructions/authority at any time. For many the living will preserves personal control and eases the decision-making burden of a family. Second is the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care (DPAHC) or Health Care Proxy and third is the Living Will (LW). Till that is done, the Supreme Court's guidelines will have to be followed. The court did this by specifying who is authorised to give effect to it. The person concerned can also authorise, through the will, any relative or friend to decide in consultation with medical experts when to pull the plug.
March 9, 2018: SC recognises "living will" made by terminally-ill patients for passive euthanasia and lays down guidelines on procedures to be adopted for it.
The bench said that the guidelines will be in force till legislation is passed by parliament to deal with the issue, our New Delhi correspondent reports.
The Supreme Court emphasised that the right to die with dignity is a fundamental right.
The judgment, delivered by a panel of five judges, permits a "living will" that patients can authorize in advance, which will allow family members to approve turning off artificial life support.
This would apply to patients suffering from terminal illness and who are in a vegetative state. Apart from this, there is also assisted suicide.
"It is a landmark decision in a resource-constraint country and would save a lot of salvageable patients by giving them opportunity to avail ventilator support", Dr Chatterjee, who is also joint editor of Indian Academy Geriatrics, said. At this juncture, the right to refuse medical treatment comes into the picture.
With the advancement in medical technology and the fact that medical directive achieved lawful recognition in the US, Australia, Canada and other jurisdictions, the Bench felt that it was time for India to recognise this right as part of a citizen's right of self-determination, dignity, autonomy and privacy as well by choosing not to suffer a painful death.
It said if medical board would concur with the initial decision of the medical board of the concerned hospital, they may endorse the certificate to carry out the instructions given in the advance directive.