Mumbai: The medical fraternity in the State today welcomed the Supreme Court’s landmark judgment in which it recognised ‘living will’ made by terminally-ill patients for passive euthanasia.
Dr Abdul Ansari, director of the critical care services of Nanavati Super Speciality Hospital said that the “right to die” was a landmark ruling which would allow people to “die with dignity”.
He said, “We come across many terminally ill patients and families who feel burdened and express the feeling to die in peace rather than getting subjected to the dehumanising experience of being stranded on futile life support.”
Ansari said that the legal mechanism and the institutional ethics committees need to be strengthened to ensure guidelines were not misused.
Dr Nagraj Huilgol, a noted radiation oncologist and president of the ‘Society for the Right to Die with Dignity’ said that ‘living will’ was a paradigm shift and it restored the autonomy of decision making to an individual.
Noted orthopaedic specialist and vice-president of the Stem Cell Society of India. Dr BS Rajput, said, “Passive euthanasia is a good decision by the Supreme Court but the latest advancements of medical science like stem cell therapy should also be tried as a last measure to give them the quality of life.”
Dr Shivkumar Utture, Indian Medical Association (IMA) member and president of the Maharashtra Medical Council, also hailed the ruling.
“Giving legal sanction to passive euthanasia and permitting a person to draft a living will with strict guidelines is an excellent judgment. After this verdict, euthanasia and living will not be misused as there will be strict guidelines,” he said.
Dr Roopkuamr Gursahani, a consultant neurologist from the Hinduja Hospital and Medical Research Centre, said, “India does not have a comprehensive law on ‘end of life’ decision making. The SC judgment is one step forward in handing over control to the individual.”
Gursahani added, “As a society, we need to normalise death and remove the taboo around discussing it. All doctors need to be aware of the basic principles of palliative care so that we can offer care when cure is no longer possible.”