Thursday, March 10, 2011

"Euthanasia" The Legal Issues in Aruna Case

  
             
                                    “Marte hain aarzoo mein marne ki
                                       Maut aati hai par nahin aati”
                                                                                  --  Mirza Ghalib
Euthanasia is one of the most perplexing issues which the courts and legislatures all over the world are facing today. Supreme Court, in this case, is facing the same issue, and we feel like a ship in an uncharted sea, seeking some guidance by the light thrown by the legislations and judicial pronouncements of foreign countries, as well as the submissions of learned counsels before us.  The case before us is a writ petition under Article 32 of the Constitution, and has been filed on behalf of the petitioner Aruna Ramachandra Shanbaug by one Ms Pinki Virani of Mumbai, claiming to be a next friend. 

 It is stated in the writ petition that the petitioner Aruna Ramachandra Shanbaug was a staff Nurse working in King Edward Memorial Hospital, Parel, Mumbai. On the evening of 27th November, 1973 she was attacked by a sweeper in the hospital who wrapped a dog chain around her neck and yanked her 3back with it. He tried to rape her but finding that she was menstruating, he sodomized her. To immobilize her during this act he twisted the chain around her neck. The next day on 28th November, 1973 at 7.45 a.m. a cleaner found her lying on the floor with blood all over in an unconscious condition. It is alleged that due to strangulation by the dog chain the supply of oxygen to the brain stopped and  the brain got damaged. It is alleged that the    eurologist in the Hospital found that she had plantars' extensor, which indicates damage to the cortex or some other part of the brain. She also had brain stem contusion injury with associated cervical cord injury. It is alleged at page 11 of the petition that 36 years have expired since the incident and now Aruna Ramachandra Shanbaug is about 60 years of age. She is featherweight, and her rittle bones could break if her hand or leg are awkwardly caught, even accidentally, under her lighter body. She has stopped menstruating and her skin is now like papier mache' stretched over a  keleton. She is prone to bed sores. Her wrists are 4twisted inwards. Her teeth had decayed causing her immense pain. She can only be given mashed food, on which she survives. It is alleged that Aruna Ramachandra Shanbaug is in a persistent negetativestate (p.v.s.) and virtually a dead person and has no state of awareness, and her brain is virtually dead. She can neither see, nor hear anything nor can she express herself or communicate, in any manner whatsoever. Mashed food is put in her mouth, she is not able to chew or taste any food. She is not even aware that food has been put in her mouth. She is not able to swallow any liquid food, which shows that the food goes down on its own and not because of any effort on her part. The process of digestion goes on in this way as the mashed food passes through her system. However, Aruna is virtually a  keleton. Her excreta and the urine is discharged on the bed itself. Once in a while she is cleaned up but in a short while again she goes back into thesame sub-human condition.  Judged by any parameter,Aruna cannot be said to be a living person and it is
only on account of mashed food which is put into her 5mouth that there is a facade of life which is totally devoid of any human element. It is alleged that there is not the slightest possibility of any improvement in her condition and her body lies on the bed in the KEM Hospital, Mumbai like a dead animal, and this has been the position for the last 36 years. The prayer of the petitioner is that the respondents be directed to stop feeding Aruna, and let her die peacefully .
 The Hon'ble Judges States that "We could have dismissed this petition on the short ground that under Article 32 of the Constitution of India (unlike Article 226) the petitioner has to prove violation of a fundamentalright, and it has been held by the Constitution Bench decision of this Court in Gian Kaur  vs.State of Punjab, 1996(2) SCC 648 (vide paragraphs 22 and 23) that the right to life guaranteed by Article 21 of the Constitution does not include the right to die.  Hence the petitioner has not shown violation of any of her fundamental rights.  However, in viewof the importance of the issues involved we decided 6to go deeper into the merits of the case."

The Mumbai Municipal  Corporation and the Dean, KEM Hospital by Dr. Amar Ramaji Pazare, Professor and Head in the said hospital,  Aruna accepts the food in normal course and responds by facial expressions. She responds to commands intermittently by making sounds. She makes sounds when she has to pass stool and urine which the nursing staff identifies and attends to by leading her to the toilet. 

The Hon'ble Supreme Court  appointed a team of three very distinguished doctors of Mumbai to examine Aruna Shanbaug thoroughly and submit a report about her physical and mental condition.  These three doctors were :
(1) Dr. J. V. Divatia, Professor and Head,
          Department of Anesthesia,
          Critical Care and Pain at Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai;
(2) Dr. Roop Gursahani, Consultant Neurologist at
          P.D.Hinduja, Mumbai; and
(3) Dr. Nilesh Shah, Professor and Head,  
          Department of Psychiatry at Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Corporation
          Medical College and General Hospital.
In pursuance of our order dated  24th January, 2011, the team of three doctors above mentioned examined Aruna Shanbuag in KEM Hospital and has submitted us the following report:
    “ Report of Examination of Ms. Aruna Ramachandra Shanbaug  Jointly prepared and signed by 
1. Dr. J.V. Divatia 
(Professor and Head, Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care
and Pain, at Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai) 
2. Dr. Roop Gursahani 
(Consultant Neurologist at P.D. Hinduja Hospital, Mumbai) 
3. Dr. Nilesh Shah 
8(Professor and Head, Department of Psychiatry at Lokmanya
Tilak Municipal Corporation Medical College and General
Hospital). 
This report is based on: 
1. The longitudinal case history and observations obtained from the Dean and the medical and nursing staff of K. E.M. Hospital,  2.  92. Case records (including nursing records) since January 2010 
3. Findings of the physical, neurological and mental status examinations performed by the panel. 
4. Investigations performed during the course of this assessment (Blood tests, CT head, Electroencephalogram) 

II. Medical history:
       Medical history of Ms. Aruna Ramachandra Shanbaug was obtained from the Dean, the Principal of the School of Nursing and the medical and nursing staff of ward-4 who has been looking after her. 
It was learnt from the persons mentioned above that 
1. Ms. Aruna Ramachandra Shanbaug was admitted in the hospital after she was assaulted and strangulated by a sweeper of the hospital on November 27, 1973. 
2. Though she survived, she never fully recovered from the trauma and brain damage resulting from the assault    andstrangulation. 
3. Since last so many years she is in the same bed in these side-room of ward-4. 
4. The hospital staff has provided her an excellent nursing  care since then which included feeding her by mouth, bathing her and taking care of her toilet needs. The care was of such an exceptional nature that she has not developed a single bed-sore or fracture in spite of her bedridden state since 1973. 
5. According to the history from them, though she is not  very much aware of herself and her surrounding, she
somehow recognizes the presence of people around her and expresses her like or dislike by making certain types of vocal sounds and by waving her hands in certain manners. She appears to be happy and smiles when she receives her favorite food items like fish and chicken soup. She accepts feed which she likes but may spit out food which she doesn’t like. She was able to take oral feeds till 16th September 2010, when she developed a febrile illness, probably malaria. After that, her oral intake reduced and a feeding tube (Ryle’s tube) was passed into her stomach via her nose. Since then she receives her major feeds by the Ryle’s tube, and is only occasionally able to accept the oral liquids. Malaria has taken a toll in her physical condition
but she is gradually recuperating from it. 
6. Occasionally, when there are many people in the room she makes vocal sounds indicating distress. She calms down when people move out of her room. She also seems to enjoy the devotional songs and music which is played in her room and it has calming effect on her. 
 7. In an annual ritual, each and every batch of nursing students is introduced to Ms. Aruna Ramachandra
Shanbaug, and is told that “She was one of us”; “She was a very nice and efficient staff nurse but due to the mishap she is in this bed-ridden state”. 
8. The entire nursing staff member and other staff members have a very compassionate attitude towards Ms. Aruna Ramachandra Shanbaug and they all very happily and willingly take care of her. They all are very proud of their achievement of taking such a good care of their bed-ridden colleague and feel very strongly that they want to continue to take care of her in the same manner till she succumbs  naturally. They do not feel that Ms. Aruna Ramachandra Shanbaug is living a painful and miserable life. 

III. Examination 
           IIIa. Physical examination 

           IIIb. Neurological Examination 

            IIIc. Mental Status Examination 

IV. Reports of Investigations 
          IVa. CT Scan Head (Plain)
          IVb. EEG 
          IVc. Blood 

V. Diagnostic impression 

16VI. Prognosis 

Conclusion:
 From the above examination, she has evidence of intact auditory, visual, somatic and  primary neural pathways. However no definitive evidence for awareness of, visual, somatic and motor stimuli was observed during our examinations.
.
On perusal of the report of the committee of doctors to us we have noted that there are many technical terms which have been used therein which a non-medical man would find it difficult to understand.
Therefore,Hon'ble Supreme Court  request the doctors to submit a supplementary report by the next date of
hearing (by e-mailing  copy of the same two days before the next date of hearing) in which the meaning of these technical terms in the report is also explained.

Meaning of Brain death 
       A state of prolonged irreversible cessation of all brain activity, including lower brain stem function with the complete absence of voluntary movements, responses to stimuli, brain stem reflexes, and spontaneous respirations. 
Explanation: This is the most severe form of brain damage. The patient is unconscious, completely unresponsive, has no reflex activity from centres in the brain, and has no breathing efforts on his own. However the heart is beating. This patient can only be maintained alive by advanced life support (breathing machine or ventilator, drugs to maintain blood pressure, etc). These patients can be legally declared dead (‘brain dead’) to allow their organs to be taken for donation. 

Aruna Shanbaug is clearly not brain dead. 

Coma 
Patients in coma have complete failure of the arousal system with no spontaneous eye opening and are unable to be awakened by application of vigorous sensory stimulation. 
Explanation: These patients are unconscious. They cannot be awakened even by application of a painful stimulus. They have normal heart beat and breathing, and do not require advanced life support to preserve life. 
Aruna Shanbaug is clearly not in Coma. 

Vegetative State (VS) 
The complete absence of behavioral evidence for self or environmental awareness. There is preserved capacity for spontaneous or stimulus-induced arousal, evidenced by sleep– wake cycles. .i.e. patients are awake, but have no awareness. 
Explanation: Patients appear awake. They have normal heart beat and breathing, and do not require advanced life support to preserve life. They cannot produce a purposeful, co-ordinated, voluntary response in a sustained manner, although they may have primitive reflexive responses to light, sound, touch or pain. They cannot understand, communicate, speak, or have emotions. They are unaware of self and environment and have no interaction with others. They cannot voluntarily control passing of urine or stools. They sleep and awaken. As the centres in the brain controlling the heart and breathing are intact, there is no threat to life, and patients can survive for many years with expert nursing care. The following behaviours may be seen in the vegetative state : 
Sleep-wake cycles with eyes closed, then open  Patient breathes on her own  Spontaneous blinking and roving eye movements  Produce sounds but no words  Brief, unsustained visual pursuit (following an object with her eyes) 
Grimacing to pain, changing facial expressions  Yawning; chewing jaw movements Swallowing of her own spit 
Nonpurposeful limb movements; arching of back  Reflex withdrawal from painful stimuli  Brief movements of head or eyes toward sound or movement without apparent localization or fixation startles with a loud sound Almost all of these features consistent with the diagnosis of permanent vegetative state were present during the medical examination of Aruna Shanbaug. 
Minimally Conscious State 
Some patients with severe alteration in consciousness have neurologic findings that do not meet criteria for VS. These patients demonstrate some behavioral evidence of conscious awareness but remain unable to reproduce this behavior consistently. This condition is referred to here as  the minimally conscious state (MCS). MCS is distinguished from VS by the partial preservation of conscious awareness. To make the diagnosis of MCS, limited but clearly discernible evidence of self or environmental awareness must be demonstrated on a reproducible or sustained basis by one or more of the following behaviors: 
Following simple commands. 
• Gestural or verbal yes/no responses (regardless of accuracy).
• Intelligible sounds 
• Purposeful behavior, including movements or emotional
behaviors (smiling, crying) that occur in relation to relevant environmental stimuli and are not due to reflexive activity.
Some examples of qualifying purposeful behavior include: 
 – appropriate smiling or crying in response to the linguistic or visual content of emotional but not to neutral             topics or stimuli
  – vocalizations or gestures that occur in direct response to the linguistic content of questions 
– reaching for objects that demonstrates a clear relationship between object location and direction of reach 
– touching or holding objects in a manner that accommodates the size and shape of the object 
– pursuit eye movement or sustained fixation that occurs in direct response to moving or salient stimuli 

None of the above behaviours suggestive of a Minimally Conscious State were observed during the examination of Aruna Shanbaug. 

The Supreme Court Opinion  the issues in this case (and other similar cases) are: 
1. In a person who is in a permanent vegetative state (PVS), should withholding or withdrawal of life sustaining therapies (many authorities would include placement of an artificial feeding tube as a life sustaining intervention) be permissible or ‘not unlawful’ ? 
2. If the patient has previously expressed a wish not to have life-sustaining treatments in case of futile care or a PVS, should his / her wishes be respected when the situation arises? 
3. In case a person has not previously expressed such a wish, if his family or next of kin makes a request to withhold or withdraw futile life-sustaining treatments, should their wishes be respected? 
4. Aruna Shanbaug has been abandoned by her family and is being looked after for the last 37 years by the staff of KEM Hospital. Who should take decisions on her behalf? 

Two of the cardinal principles of medical ethics are Patient Autonomy and Beneficiance. 
1. Autonomy means the right to self-determination, where the informed patient has a right tochoose the manner of his treatment. To be autonomous the patient should be competent to make decisions and choices. In the event that he is incompetent to make choices, his wishes expressed in advance in the form of a Living Will, OR the wishes of surrogates acting on his behalf ('substituted judgment') are to be respected.  The surrogate is expected to represent what the patient may have decided had he / she been competent, or to act in the patient’s best interest. It is expected that a surrogate acting in the patient’s best interest follows a course of action because it is best for the patient, and is not influenced by personal convictions, motives or other considerations. 
2. Beneficence is acting in what is (or judged to be) in patient's best interest. Acting in the patient’s best interest means following a course of action that is best for the patient, and is not influenced by personal convictions, motives or other considerations. In some cases, the doctor’s expanded goals may include allowing the natural dying process (neither hastening nor delaying death, but ‘letting nature take its course’), thus avoiding or reducing the sufferings of the patient and his family, and providing emotional support. This is not to be confused with euthanasia, which involves the doctor's deliberate and intentional act through administering a lethal injection to end the life of the patient. 

The supreme Court in the present case consider the following things. 

1. Supreme Court  have no indication of Aruna Shanbaug’s views or wishes with respect to life-sustaining treatments for a permanent vegetative state.
2. Any decision regarding her treatment will have to be taken by a surrogate 
3. The staff of the KEM hospital have looked after her for 37 years, after she was abandoned by her family.     and believe that the Dean of the KEM Hospital (representing the staff of hospital) is an appropriate surrogate. 
4. If the doctors treating Aruna Shanbaug and the Dean of the KEM Hospital, together acting in the best interest of the patient, feel that life sustaining treatments should continue, their decision should be respected. 
5. If the doctors treating Aruna Shanbaug and the Dean of the KEM Hospital, together acting in the best interest of the patient, feel that withholding or withdrawing life-sustaining treatments is the appropriate course of action, they should be allowed to do so, and their actions should not be considered unlawful. 
The Supreme Court openioned that this one is finest example of love, professionalism, dedication and commitment to one of our professional colleagues who is  ailing and cannot support herself.  Notonce, in this long sojourn of 33 years,anybody has thought of putting an end to her so called vegetative existence.  There have been several Deans and Doctors of KEM Hospital who have cared her in succession. All of the doctors  have visited her room time and again and have cared for her and seen her through her ups and downs.
The very idea of withholding food or putting her to sleep by active medication (mercy killing) is extremely difficult for anybody working in Seth GSMC & KEM Hospital to accept and I sincerely make a plea to the
Learned Counsel and Hon’ble Judges of Supreme Court of India that this should not be allowed.  Aruna has probably crossed 60  years of life and would one day meet her 31natural end.  The Doctors, Nurses and staffof KEM, are determined to take care of her till her last breath by natural process.
 It is thus obvious that the KEM hospital staff has developed an emotional bonding and attachment to Aruna Shanbaug, and in a sense they are her real family today.  Ms. Pinki Virani who claims to be the 33next friend of Aruna Shanbaug and has filed this petition on her behalf is not a relative of Aruna Shanbaug nor can she claim to have such close emotional bonding with her as the KEM hospital staff.  Hence, we are treating the KEM hospital staff as the next friend of Aruna Shanbaug and we decline to recognize Ms. Pinki Virani as her nextfriend.  No doubt Ms. Pinki Virani has written a book about Aruna Shanbaug and has visited her a few times, and we have great respect for her for the social causes she has espoused, but she cannot claim to have the extent of attachment or bonding with Aruna which the KEM hospital staff, which has been looking after her for years, claims to have.  

“Life is not mere living but living in
health.  Health is not the absence of
illness but a glowing vitality”.
                              in Rathinam’s case (supra) was, however, overruled by a Constitution Bench decision of this Court in Gian Kaur vs. State of Punjab (1996) 2 SCC 648.  
it was observed :
“(24) Protagonism of euthanasia on the view that existence in persistent vegetative state (PVS) is not a benefit to the patient of a terminal illness being unrelated to the principle of 'sanctity of life' or the right to live with dignity' is of no assistance to determine the scope of Article 21 for deciding whether the guarantee of right to life' therein includes the right to die'. The right to life' including the right to live with human dignity would mean the existence of such a right upto the end of natural life. This also includes the right to a dignified life upto the point of death including a dignified procedure of death. In other words, this may include the right of a dying man to also die with dignity when his life is ebbing out. But the 'right to die' with dignity at the end of life is not to be confused or equated with the right to die' an unnatural death curtailing the natural span of life. 

 Main Considaration in Aruna Case:

 Learned Attorney General appearing for the Union India after inviting the attention to the case law submitted as under :
(i) Aruna Ramchandra Shanbaug has the right to live in her present state.
(ii) The state that Aruna Ramchandra Shanbaug is presently in does not justify terminating her life by withdrawing hydration/food/medical support.
(iii) The aforesaid acts or series of acts and/or such omissions will be cruel, inhuman and intolerable.
(iv) Withdrawing/withholding of hydration/food/medical support to a patient is unknown to Indian law and is contrary to law.
(v) In case hydration or food is withdrawn/withheld from Aruna Ramchandra Shanbaug, the efforts which have been put in by batches after batches of nurses of KEM Hospital for the last 37 years will be undermined.
(vi) Besides causing a deep sense of resentment in the nursing staff as well as other well wishers of Aruna Ramchandra Shanbaug in KEM Hospital including the management, such acts/omissions will lead to disheartenment in them and large scale disillusionment.
(vii) In any event, these acts/omissions cannot be permitted at the instance of Ms. Pinky Virani who desires to be the next friend of Aruna Ramchandra Shanbaug without any locus. 

Learned Attorney General stated that the report of the Law Commission of India on euthanasia has not been accepted by the Government of India.  He further submitted that Indian society is emotional and care-oriented.  We do not send our parents to old age homes, as it happens in the West.  He stated that there was a great danger in permitting euthanasia that the relatives of a person may conspire with doctors and get him killed to inherit his property.  He further submitted that tomorrow there may be a cure to a medical state perceived as incurable today. 

Mr. T. R. Andhyarujina, learned senior counsel whom The Hon'ble Supreme Court  had appointed as Amicus Curiae,  submitted that in general in common law it is the right of every individual to have the control of his own person free from all restraints or interferences of others.  Every human being of adult years and sound mind has a right to determine what shall be done with his own body.  In the case of medical treatment, for example, a surgeon who performs an operation without the patient’s consent commits assault or battery.   
It follows as a corollary that the patient possesses the right not to consent i.e. to refuse treatment. (In the United States this right is reinforced by a Constitutional right of privacy). This is known as the principle of self-determination or informed consent.
Principle of self-determination applies when a patient of sound mind requires that life support should be discontinued.  The same principle applies where a patient’s consent has been expressed at an earlier date before he became unconscious or otherwise incapable of communicating it as by a ‘living will’ or by giving written authority to doctors in anticipation of his incompetent situation.

 The withdrawal of life support by the doctors is in law considered as an omission and not a positive step to terminate the life.  The latter would be euthanasia, a criminal offence under the present lawin UK, USA and India.
 In such a situation, generally the wishes of the patient’s immediate family will be given due weight, though their views cannot be determinative of the carrying on of treatment as they cannot dictate to responsible and competent doctors what is in the 43best interest of the patient.  However, experience shows that in most cases the opinions of the doctors and the immediate relatives coincide.
The Supreme Court taken  a point of view of the Suicide attempting by the human being.. Court has held that there is nobright to die (suicide) under Article 21 of the Constitution and attempt to suicide is a crime vide Section 309 IPC, the Court has held that the right to life includes the right to live with human dignity, and in the case of a dying person who is terminally ill or in a permanent vegetative state he may be permitted to terminate it by a premature  extinction of his life in these circumstances and it is not a crime vide Gian Kaur’s case (supra). 

Legal Issues : Active and Passive Euthanasia
           Coming now to the legal issues in this case, it may be noted that euthanasia is of two types :
active and passive.  Active euthanasia entails the use of lethal substances or forces to kill a person e.g. a lethal injection given to a person with terminal cancer who is in terrible agony.  Passive euthanasia entails withholding of medical treatment 48for continuance of life, e.g. withholding of antibiotics where without giving it a patient is likely to die, or removing the heart lung machine, from a patient in coma. 
 A further categorization of euthanasia is between voluntary euthanasia and non voluntary euthanasia.  Voluntary euthanasia is where the consent is taken from the patient, whereas non voluntary euthanasia is where the consent is unavailable e.g. when the patient is in coma, or is otherwise unable to give consent.  While there is no legal difficulty in the case of the former, the latter poses several problems, which we shall
address.    

. The difference between "active" and "passive" euthanasia is that in active euthanasia, something is done to end the patient's life’ while in passive euthanasia, something is not done that would have preserved the patient's life.  

An important idea behind this distinction is that in "passive euthanasia" the doctors are not actively killing anyone; they are simply not saving him. While we usually applaud someone who saves another person's life, 

LEGISLATION IN SOME COUNTRIES RELATING TO EUTHANASIA OR PHYSICIAN ASSISTED DEATH
                         Although in the present case we are dealing with a case related to passive euthanasia, it would be ofsome interest to note the legislations in certain countries permitting active euthanasia.  These are
given below.
Netherlands:
        Euthanasia in the Netherlands is regulated by the "Termination of Life on Request and Assisted Suicide (Review Procedures) Act", 2002. It states that euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide are not punishable if the attending physician acts in accordance with the criteria of due care. These criteria concern the patient's request, the patient's suffering (unbearable and hopeless), the information provided to the patient, the presence of reasonable alternatives, consultation of another physician and the applied method of ending life.

Belgium:
Belgium became the second country in Europe after Netherlands to legalize the practice of euthanasia in September 2002. The Belgian law sets out conditions under which suicide can be practised without giving doctors a licence to kill.
Patients wishing to end their own lives must be conscious when the demand is made and repeat their request for euthanasia. They have to be under "constant and unbearable physical or psychological pain" resulting from an accident or incurable illness.

WITHDRAWAL OF LIFE SUPPORT OF A PATIENT IN PERMANENT
VEGETATIVE STATE (PVS)

UNDER WHICH PROVISION OF THE LAW CAN THE COURT GRANT
APPROVAL FOR WITHDRAWING LIFE SUPPORT TO AN
INCOMPETENT PERSON
        In our opinion, it is the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution which can grant approval for withdrawal of life support to such an incompetent person.  Article 226(1) of the Constitution states :
“Notwithstanding anything in article 32, every High Court shall have power, throughout the territories in relation to which it exercises jurisdiction, to issue to any person or authority, including in appropriate cases, any Government, within those territories directions, orders or writs, including writs in the nature of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto and certiorari, or any of them, for the enforcement of any of the rights conferred by Part III and for any other purpose”.

PROCEDURE TO BE ADOPTED BY THE HIGH COURT WHEN SUCH
AN APPLICATION IS FILED
138. When such an application is filed the Chief Justice of the High Court should forthwith constitute a Bench of at least two Judges who shoulddecide to grant approval or not.  Before doing so the Bench should seek the opinion of a committee of three reputed doctors to be nominated by the Bench after consulting such medical authorities/medical practitioners as it may deem fit.  Preferably one of the three doctors should be a  neurologist, one should be a psychiatrist, and the third a physician.
For this purpose a panel of doctors in every city may be prepared by the High Court in consultation with the State Government/Union Territory and their fees for this purpose may be fixed.   

 The committee of three doctors nominated by the Bench should carefully examine the patient and also consult the record of the patient as well as taking 13the views of the hospital staff and submit its report to the High Court Bench.
 Simultaneously with appointing the committee of doctors, the High Court Bench shall also issue notice to the State and close relatives e.g. parents, spouse, brothers/sisters etc. of the patient, and in their absence his/her next friend, and supply a copy of the report of the doctor’s committee to them as soon as it is available.  After hearing them, the High Court bench should give its verdict.   The above procedure should be followed all over India until Parliament makes legislation on this subject. 

The High Court should give its decision speedily at the earliest, since delay in the matter may result in causing great mental agony to the relatives and persons close to the patient.

At the time of  pronouncing the judgement in Aruna Case  The Hon'ble Supreme Court Judges Justice Markandey Katju and Justice Gyan Sudha Misra commend the entire staff of KEM Hospital, Mumbai (including the retired staff) for their noble spirit and outstanding, exemplary and unprecedented dedication in taking care of Aruna for so many long years.  Every Indian is proud of them.
   

3 comments:

  1. I have a slight deference of opinion about passive
    Euthanasia. as per my understanding is concerned passive means removing or withdrawal of medical assistance to a person by that sending him to the door step of death. but this is a very pain full and inconvenient to the patient. in case of a criminal who is sentenced for death, the court will take extra care about easy death of such person by putting so many rules and restriction on the procedure of hanging or whatever.
    even some cases some criminals are not hanged just becoz of non availability of the infrastructure to hang as per the law.
    why not in case of Euthanasia???
    I dont know the legal validity of the Euthanasia but if it is admitted in law it should be active and the patient should close his life with in a minute without any pain or inconvenience.
    that passive Euthanasia concept itself is a somewhat not fair ....as per the my views...!
    please correct me if am wrong......

    ReplyDelete
  2. vinayak i appreciate your question , but in India these euthanasia is the new legal concept.. our constitution has to be further amended in these type of cases.supreme court also said Indians are emotional s about their family they are not easily accept this theory.. Active and passive euthanasia is the medical concept.. some time human body is not response to treatment.. than only way is to stop the treatment ...in such cases human brain s are already dead. and also it is not not applicable to punishments like death sentence .. we are following our old british law.. but mercy killing is not applicable to sentence... death sentence by hang is the punishment under law. there is no mercy in that situation ..now a days hang by death sentence is also removed in certain countries..

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  3. Thanks a lot for clarification ...

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