Important decision from the Supreme Court of India with possible positive impact on end of life care.
Please see the following evaluation by Arghya Sengupta:
“I have closely read the judgment and having been part of the case might be able to help in decoding some of the legalese.
1. The judges have unanimously held privacy to be part of personal liberty that we enjoy under Article 21 of the Constitution.
2. This essentially entails the recognition that an individual ought to be free to decide for himself/ herself in critical matters without interference from others/ state.
3. The question which will then arise is: What are these critical matters?
4. Though the answer to this will develop on a case-by-case basis, one of the judges Justice Chelameswar, says on p. 303 (of the pdf; p. 37 of his opinion), that one such matter is an individual’s decision to refusal to prolong treatment and terminate one’s life.
5. While this is not binding law, it provides a strong argument which can be used when the matter is next taken up, either legislatively or in court, that the right to privacy ought to extend to the individual’s decision to refuse to prolong treatment. However it should be noted that the right claimed is not absolute and is subject to reasonable restrictions. To assess whether any restriction by the State on the right to refuse to prolong treatment will be reasonable, will depend on the exact nature of the restriction in that case.
So overall, the judgment on the whole, and the specific reference to the refusal to prolong treatment, are both encouraging developments. Trust this clarifies.”
Thank you Mr Sengupta for this erudite evaluation.
During her lifetime, Diana, Princess of Wales, was dedicated to improving the lives of the most disadvantaged people in the UK and internationally. She used her high profile to raise funds and awareness for critical but challenging and stigamatised issues such as those who were living with life-threatening illness such as HIV and AIDS.
Functioning between 1997 and 2012, The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund continued the Princess’ humanitarian work in the UK and overseas. One area of focus was the need for palliative care – holistic care to treat avoidable pain and suffering of people with serious illness and their carers. 20 years after her death, hospice and palliative care programmes, organisations and services supported by the Diana Princess of Wales, Memorial Fund continue to bring comfort and hope to those suffering around the world – irrespective of what the illness is.
The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund was ahead of its time in supporting a holistic, patient and family centred approach to care, encouraging community based models in countries such as Kenya, Malawi, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Read the complete press release from Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance (WHPCA).
Thank you, Kate Jackson, for bringing this to our attention.
Hope for people with advanced cancer: Palliative care workshop at Government Cancer hospital, Indore.
More than 75,000 patients with advanced cancer are in pain in MP. Government Cancer hospital, Indore, with the support of Pallium India started a pioneering palliative care facility in which pain and other symptoms are treated along with emotional support. Jivdaya foundation also supports this initiative.
A workshop was held on 30 August 2017 to discuss modalities of palliative care delivery with special emphasis on safe use of morphine. The program was attended by doctors and nurses from several hospitals as well as representatives of Sahayata, Lions club and several other non-government organisations.
Minister for health, Sharad Jain, and Usha Thakur, MLA visited the workshop and extended their support for the compassionate activities of palliative care personnel.
Wow, 11 events in two and a half days! Pallium India joined the vibrant team at Sneha Sandhya Age Care Foundation in Vizag (Vishakhapatnam) on an initiative to improve access to palliative care in Andhra Pradesh. We use the word ‘vibrant’ with emphasis. Truly vibrant.
The days were packed with activities – several awareness programs for the public, sensitization sessions for medical students and faculty of Health University, the fifth anniversary celebration of Age Care Foundation, you name it, we have done it.
We cannot but admire the team led by Dr Raju, who closely collaborates with Dr Raghunadha Rao and Dr Vidya Viswanath at the Cancer Centre, and with several educational institutions.
We have signed an MoU with Sneha Sandhya Age Care Foundation. We promise you more action.
You would get a good architect, good engineering team, select and order the right equipment, look for the best staff, and start constructing, wouldn’t you?
Most people would. But not Dr Raghunadha Rao. He did all that, but at the same time, he also started seeing patients. Often, with the patient under a tree, an I.V. infusion set hanging from a low branch. Then he brought in portable cabins made out of discarded containers.
That is not all. He also brought in one of the best palliative care physicians in the country, Dr Vidya Viswanath, and simply integrated palliative care into cancer care.
May your tribe increase, Dr Raghunadha Rao.