Supreme Court passes ‘living will’

On Friday in landmark judgement Supreme Court has allowed ‘living will’ passive euthanasia but with strict guidelines.

A ‘living will’ is made by a person, in the normal state of mind, seeking voluntary euthanasia in case of terminal illness, if he or she is terminally ill or no longer able to express informed consent.

Passive euthanasia is a condition where there is withdrawal of medical treatment; medical professionals either do not do something necessary to keep the patient alive, or stop doing something that is keeping the patient alive with the deliberate intention to hasten the death of a terminally-ill patients such as witching off life-support machines, disconnecting a feeding tube, not carrying out a life-extending operation and not administering life-extending drugs.

A five judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court said passive euthanasia is permissible; the court has framed detailed guidelines using its extraordinary power.

The judges added the right to die with dignity was a fundamental right and that an advance directive by a person in the form of a living will could be approved by the courts.

As per the guidelines of the Supreme Court, a family member or friend of the terminally ill person, seeking passive euthanasia can go to the High Court, which will constitute a medical board that will decide if passive euthanasia is needed.



Prepared by Seema Kumari from Media sources



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