“A practice of intentionally ending a life to relive pain and suffering”
The term euthanasia comes from the Greek words “Eu”-meaning good and “thanatos”-meaning death, which combined means “well-death” or “dying well”
Different countries have different laws regarding euthanasia,
In Britain, Medical ethics defines euthanasia as ” a deliberately intention undertaken with the express intention of ending a life, to relieve intractable suffering”.
In Netherlands and Belgium it is understood as ” termination of life by a doctor at the request of a patience”.
Dutch law doesn’t use the term euthanasia but includes it under the broader definition of “assisted suicide and termination of life on request”.
Categories of Euthanasia
- Non- voluntarily
Voluntarily Euthanasia:- Practice of ending a life in painless manner. It is legal in some countries like Canada, Luxembourg, Columbia, Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands as of 2009. Some authors define it as a form of passive Euthanasia.
Non-Voluntarily Euthanasia:- It is being done when the explicit consent of the individual concerned is unavailable, such as when the person is in persistent vegetative state( It is a disorder of consciousness in which patients with severe brain damage are in the state of partial arousal rather than true awareness.
Euthanasia in India
Since March 2018 Passive Euthanasia is legal in India under strict guidelines. Patients must concern a living will and must be in a vegetative state or terminally ill. On 7 March 2011 the Supreme Court of India legalized passive euthanasia by means of the withdrawal of life support to patients in a permanent vegetative state. The decision was made as part of the verdict in a case involving Aruna shanbaugh who had been in a Persistent Vegetative State (PVS) until her death in 2015.
Aruna Shanbaug was a nurse working at the King Edward Memorial Hospital, Parel, Mumbai. On 27 November 1973 when she was strangled and sodomized by Sohanlal Walmiki, a sweeper. During the attack she was strangled with a chain, and the deprivation of oxygen has left her in a vegetative state ever since. She has been treated since the incident and is kept alive by feeding tube. On behalf of Aruna, her friend Pinki Virani, a social activist, filed a petition in the Supreme Court arguing that the “continued existence of Aruna is in violation of her right to live in dignity”. The Supreme Court made its decision on 7 March 2011. The court rejected the plea to discontinue Aruna’s life support but issued a set of broad guidelines legalizing passive euthanasia in India. The Supreme Court’s decision to reject the discontinuation of Aruna’s life support was based on the fact that the hospital staff who treat and take care of her did not support euthanizing her. She died from pneumonia on 18 May 2015, after being in a coma for a period of 42 years.
Most of the countries have legalized Euthanasia in different different years.