Published on: June 21, 2016

In an article titled “Don’t Torture The Dying: Health ministry’s draft law confuses between euthanasia and withdrawal of life support”, Dr M. R. Rajagopal writes in the Times of India dated 20 June, 2016:

The Constitution of India guarantees life with dignity as a fundamental right. Generally speaking, we enjoy this right. But it all changes if we get an incurable disease. Or when we eventually wither and die of old age. In those circumstances, we should still have the right to live the way we want to and die where we want to. But we find that we no longer have any choice.

An Economist study found that India was one of the worst 15 countries in the world to die in, coming 67th out of 80 in “quality of death”. In India, as we near the end of life, we cease to be treated as human beings and become mere containers of disease.

Until it is seen or experienced, it is not easy to understand the degree of assault on dignity by inappropriate medical treatment in incurable diseases. Typically, even if one is fully alert and able to take decisions for oneself, one finds oneself stripped of that privilege.

Read the complete article

5 responses to “Health ministry’s draft law confuses between euthanasia and withdrawal of life support”

  1. Diana Irani says:

    Your article “Don’t Torture The Dying” is absolutely true. My almost 90 year old husband is going through exactly this torture although he himself and I would have liked him to die peacefully nearly 5 months ago when he was first admitted into Hospital. His children from a previous marriage are responsible for making him suffer by having consented to such treatment. As I see it, doctors are going along with prolonging his life because it is to their advantage. He is back in hospital where like at his son’s house he is fed through a tube because he can’t have enough nourishment by mouth, mucus sucked out, hooked to machines, given oxygen and nebulizer, hands are swollen due to needles, kept under a fan which makes him feel cold even in summer, is ordered often to close his eyes and go to sleep, and so on and on one day merges into the next, the worst being he is confused and his soul is trapped, unable to move ahead. All I can do is helplessly watch and hope he escapes from this torture soon.

  2. Dr.Rajam .k.iyer says:

    I also read the article on don’t torture the dying and found it so important or the times we live in.I couldn’t agree more with the author.
    I would like to train myself in palliative care and spread the word of education of life care.
    Look forward to hearing from the Pallium teamregards

  3. Ameer Ahammed says:

    I have read the article.I’d like to stand for a free and peaceful death,at least a common man could wish to happen.

  4. Muralidharan says:

    I agree to stand by the author. A person who is 65+ should be allowed to die without any pain. My mother in law who was admitted at the age of 94 due to stroke was made to suffer with so many medicines, which she was not used to till then. The only treatment she aws interested was using vicks, at the most. She was advised to be given cognistar 30. But the pharmacy of the hospital provided cognistar 60. On questioning this, the Doctor stopped mentioning whether it was 30/60. immediately after discharge, she felt so relieved.

  5. Agree that getting the terms wrong without clearly defining them , is a huge mistake, and refusal to regard people’s living wills is not acceptable, either and we must register a protest.

    Please, could you send the link of the draft legislation, since you seem familar with it? Its not available on the government portal. I could only find a letter regarding changes to it, 4 years old. Perhaps you should put the link into the article, too, so people can link to it.