Topic of the Day – Euthanasia

UPSC Exam Preparation: Topic of the Day – Euthanasia

Euthanasia is the practice of ending a life intentionally, in order to relieve the person off suffering and pain. It is a medical term for ‘easy death’.

 

Forms of Euthanasia:

  • Active euthanasia

It is a form of Euthanasia where the patient is administered a lethal injection (entailing the use of lethal substances) to a person who is terminally ill and is in terrible agony.

Ex: sodium pentothal substance causes a person to get into deep sleep in a few seconds, and the person instantaneously and painlessly dies in this deep sleep.

  • Passive euthanasia

Under this form of euthanasia, the medical treatment for continuance of life to a patient is withheld, such as withholding of antibiotics where without giving it a patient is likely to die, or removing the heart lung machine, from a patient in coma.

  • Voluntary euthanasia

It is where the consent is taken from the patient to end his suffering by ending his life.

  • Non voluntary euthanasia

Under this form, the consent of the patient to be euthanized is not available

Ex: when the patient is in coma, or is otherwise unable to give consent.

 

In India active euthanasia is illegal and a crime under section 302 or at least section 304 IPC. Physician assisted suicide is a crime under section 306 IPC (abetment to suicide).

 

Living Will

  • “Living will” is where, an adult in his conscious mind, is permitted to refuse medical treatment or voluntarily decide not to take medical treatment to embrace death in a natural way.

 

Practice across the globe:

  • Euthanasia has been criminalized in Philippines, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Several efforts to legalize Euthanasia in these countries failed.
  • Belgium, Canada, Luxembourg and Columbia have made Euthanasia is legal.

 

Merits:

  • It is a way to releave a person from extreme suffering and pain.
  • The medical funds will be available to help other people, where chances of recovery are higher.
  • Upholds the freedom of choice

 

Demerits:

  • Euthanasia degrades human life.
  • It is against the oath of Physicians.
  • It could possibly have a psychological effect on the society, which could lead to people accepting it as a normal practice especially when the sickness is wrongly diagnosed.