Published on: January 28, 2016

You would all remember the recent Economist-Lien Foundation report on the Quality of Death Index. Following its publication, headlines in Indian media generally came out with the comment that “India is not a safe place to die in”.

Well, it is getting worse. Already we have the problem that even in the context of futile treatment or vegetative existence, people are subjected to intensive torture at huge physical, emotional, social and financial cost to the patient and family. Health care being poorly regulated in the country, institutions and practitioners are free to institute policies that would intensify suffering, even in the context of advanced cancer or terminal motor neuron disease. The prevailing legal environment worsens the situation.

The recent decision by the government of Karnataka to enforce 8% luxury tax on intensive care units would be one step that is going to worsen the quality of death in India. The link will show you how much every day of the dying process is going to cost purely in terms of money, living along other elements of suffering. And please note, this excludes the cost of medicines.

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