Top

Letting them die with dignity

Letting them die with dignity
x
Highlights

Certain social problems often come up for exhaustive debate and go into oblivion as fast as they surface. One of such issues is ‘euthanasia,’ which means in Greek, “intentionally ending a life to relieve pain and suffering,” and is usually termed as mercy killing.

Certain social problems often come up for exhaustive debate and go into oblivion as fast as they surface. One of such issues is ‘euthanasia,’ which means in Greek, “intentionally ending a life to relieve pain and suffering,” and is usually termed as mercy killing.

According to a historian NDA Kemp, the origin of debate on euthanasia started in 1870. But, in fact, far before that it was in practice in ancient Greek. Emperor Augustus experienced it to end his life quickly, without suffering in the arms of his wife Livia. Ever since, so many intellectuals like Francis Bacon, Marvin Khol, Paul Kurtz, Michael Wreen, John Warren, Joseph Bullar, have been advocating euthanasia, giving an elaborate explanations and suggesting various means to practice. However, the likes of Tom Beauchamp and Arnold Davidson contradict it, terming it a mode of homicide.

The argument took momentum in the US, Ingersoll resulting in Henry Hunt introducing a legislation in the General Assembly of Ohio in 1906 which was badly defeated. The same scene repeated when Ross Gregory introduced a proposal to permit euthanasia to the Iowa legislature inducing many conditions. Then Voluntary Euthanasia Legalisation Society emerged in Britain campaigning for legalisation of euthanasia. It prompted the physician Lord Dawson, giving a fatal dose of morphine and cocaine to King George V, who was suffering from cardio respiratory failure in 1936, at the King’s will.

As argued by some people, it is also misused at times, particularly, killing the disabled people who were felt unfit to be soldiers by the German authorities during war periods. Presently, euthanasia is allowed with some conditions in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Albania as some states in the US; Washington, Oregon and Montana, the Canadian Province of Quebec and Great Britain.

A number of innocent patients who fight for their lives with deadly diseases and determined by the doctors as terminal cases are not allowed to have a painless and dignified end to their lives. The trauma and suffering of such patients is beyond imagination. They continue to live, dying every second and awaiting their last breath. The kith and kin of such patients too are equally dead mentally, physically and financially. Will there be a worse situation than one waiting for his and their person’s death?

I personally witnessed a doctor saying to the relatives of a patient, “don’t take her to any hospital, not even to me and let her go.” Other doctor with a heavy heart said, “My only prayer to the God is to take her as soon as possible, though I know this is the worst prayer.” What is the point in prolonging one’s life with so much of discomfort and unbearable pain and incurable disease, when it is determined that it cannot be cured. All the human rights activists always make hue and cry for the Right to Live but if the suffering of a patient is perceived, one should fight to give them Right to Die conferring them the dignity of dead.

The Supreme Court allowed passive euthanasia by means of withdrawal of life support to Aruna Shanbaug, who was in vegetative state for 37 years after her relative Pinki Virani appealed.

A survey conducted in the US reveals that almost 50 per cent of the doctors are in favour of passive euthanasia when they come to conclusion that the patient is incurable. Is it not pertinent on the part of the government, judiciary, human rights activists and entire society to think of allowing at least the voluntary euthanasia where it is conducted with the consent of the patient, considering the woes of millions of these victims?

By: Sridhara Chary K

Show Full Article
Print Article
Subscribed Failed...
Subscribed Successfully...
Next Story
More Stories