“End-of-life care law” is gasping for breath.

2017 September 29

More than a year after the Government of India published a draft end-of-life care law, the matter is still seems to be hanging in the air. Please see a commentary published in the Journal of Global Oncology by Aju Matthew and M.R.Rajagopal, Care of the Terminally Ill Patient in India: Comments on the Proposed Legislation. “If the principle of patient autonomy is to be respected,” the authors argue, “the proposed bill should consider upholding advance directives as an integral part of end-of-life care of terminally ill patients.”

Currently, the draft law stipulates that when the person is incompetent to take a decision at that point of time, even if he has left valid advance directives, the family will have to move the High Court of the state for permission to withdraw artificial life-sustaining treatment like artificial ventilator.

The draft law can be seen at http://www.prsindia.org/uploads/media//draft/Draft%20Passive%20Euthanansia%20Bill.pdf

While on the same subject, Dr Roop Gursahani brings to our attention the decision by a High Court in the United Kingdom as reported in “the Independent”, Right-to-die cases no longer need court approval after landmark ruling, the court has ordered that it is not necessary for the family to approach the court for withdrawing artificial life support.

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