Published on: March 22, 2010

It is amazing, how the idea of mercy killing grabs the attention of the media and the public.

The Hindu: No mercy killing, this

Most of the time, the discussion is superficial and confusing. Not many seem to see the significance of the need for palliative care in this context – as a viable alternative to euthanasia.

How can any civilized society even think about euthanasia when it has not provided basic pain relief or palliative care to its citizens?!

For all practical purposes we seem to be saying, “Oh, it is too much of a bother to give you pain relief. Let us consider killing you instead.”

Hence, it was refreshingly different to read the article in The Hindu by V Sureshpenny Vera-Sanso entitled “No mercy-killing, this.

Palliative care is the humane and viable alternative to euthanasia in the vast majority of people and the author proclaims that,

The relief of suffering through palliative care is now seen as a basic human right.

However the author seems to be under the mistaken notion palliative care is available to the affluent.

There is very little “private palliative care” going on in India. Only a negligible number of private hospitals have quality palliative care rendered by professionals with any training. Most of meaningful palliative care in the country is provided by Non-Government Organizations.

The Indian Association of Palliative Care has moved the Supreme Court of India praying for:

  • integration of palliative care into routine health care by Central and State Governments
  • simplification of narcotic regulations in the country for rational access to pain relieving medication
  • for inclusion of palliative care in medical and nursing curricula

Please leave your comments and thoughts on this subject below.

Also in the Hindu: To die, to sleep no more