Right to Dignified Death

Right to Dignified Death
Questions Arises :-

>> Euthanasia has been in news for a period of time. Tell us What Euthanasia is & how Euthanasia can help patients to achieve Right to Dignified Death.

Context :-

  • The debate over the right of individuals to a dignified death has opened up again.
  • The Medical Treatment of Terminally Ill Patients (Protection of Patients and Medical Practitioners) Bill, 2016 also provided the context for public discussion on the issue.

Cases related to Right to Die with honour :-

  • On 21 December 2017, Narayan Lavate (86) and his wife Iravati (79) wrote to the President of India seeking permission to end their lives through medical intervention as they have had a happy life and had no dependent or liabilities.
  • In 1977, C A Thomas Master had moved the Kerala High Court seeking permission to end his life, arguing that he had fulfilled his life’s mission and had no desire to live any longer.
  • Karibasamma from Karnataka, in her late 70s and fighting excruciating pain from an intervertebral disc prolapse, waits for a time when the law will allow her an honourable death.

What is Euthanasia ?

Euthanasia is the practice of intentionally ending a life to relieve pain and suffering.

Difference between Passive & Active Euthanasia .

  • Passive Euthanasia entails withdrawal of treatment necessary for continuance of life.
  • Active Euthanasia entails the use of lethal substances or forces or causing death through medical interventions.

State of Euthanasia in India :-

  • Euthanasia continues to be illegal in India, though the 2011 Supreme Court judgment in“Aruna Ramchandra Shanbaug v Union of India & Ors” allowed withdrawal of life support in the case of patients who are permanently in a vegetative state with no chance of recovery.
  • Appeals for euthanasia become particularly pressing given how difficult it is to die with honour in India.

Despite Euthanasia remains illegal in India it raised several questions further :-

  • First,  who owns life and who has the right to decide when to end it.
  • Second, What the demand for euthanasia implies for the state of India’s public health.

Situation of Terminally Ill Patients :-

India is one of the worst countries to die in, especially for those suffering from terminal illnesses.

  • In 2015, the Economist Intelligence Unit brought out a Quality of Death Index, which ranked India 67th out of the 80 countries it had surveyed.
  • In Private Healthcare sector, Awareness and training in terminally ill patients care remain grossly inadequate because of making profit in the private healthcare sector & further, there is no incentive to provide such treatment.

Situation of Public Health System :-

  • In December 2017, a joint report published by the World Health Organisation and the World Bank revealed that 49 million Indians are pushed into poverty every year due to out-of-pocket expenditure on healthcare, accounting for half of the 100 million who meet such a fate worldwide.

Govt Spending on Public Health System :-

  • India’s spending on health is among the lowest in the world.
  • The Economic Survey 2017–18 shows that the government spends only 1.4% of its gross domestic product (GDP) on health.
  • The 2017 National Health Policy aims to increase government expenditure to 2.5% of GDP by 2025.

Dominant Private Sector in Health Care :-

  • 90% of intensive care units is in the private healthcare sector which can access expensive treatments.
  • No incentives are provided because of making profits in private healthcare sector.
Conclusion :-

Laws of the land make a distinction between Right to Life, held to be a “Natural Right,” and Right to Death, seen as “Un-Natural.” However, the demand for the right to death for individual citizens must simultaneously articulate the right to quality and affordable public healthcare, and protection from exploitation by private interests. The current debate on euthanasia should therefore be examined in the light of our crumbling public health system.


Leave a Reply