Legalization of Assisted Suicide: What precaution should be taken to avoid abuse and mistake?
This Blog is written by Kashish Batta from University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Dehradun. Edited by Karan Dutt.
Assisted suicide basically refers to the deliberately ending our or someone life. Mainly this is done to get from suffering or to relieve from the suffering from which the person is suffering. Different countries have their different laws for the euthanasia. The word euthanasia has been derived from the Greek word in which eu means the good or well and whereas Thanatos means the death. This euthanasia is not a right which is recognized in whole world or globally. This word which is euthanasia which is first used by the Francis Bacon and this was used in 17th century. Different religion is also having different view point related to euthanasia. According to the general Christian view they are basically against the euthanasia. Life is basically the gift from the God. According to the Roman Catholic view this is the major violation of the law of God. There is also the difference between the suicide and the euthanasia in which suicide is committed by the individual whereas the euthanasia is committed by another person. There are various types of euthanasia like passive, active, voluntary etc.
There are various kinds of euthanasia or assisted suicide that is as follows:
• Passive euthanasia– this is that category of euthanasia in which any person causes the death of himself by withdrawing the treatment which is necessary to survive or to maintain life. This is that sort of euthanasia in which on the request of the patient treatment is not being started for his or her survival.
• Active euthanasia– in this category of euthanasia the person knowingly intrudes to end someone life. If any person is suffering from some kind of disease or is ill then this euthanasia is followed by people or physician with the intension of relieving that person who is facing or is suffering from disease or ill.
• Voluntary euthanasia– in this sort of euthanasia person makes the voluntary or in conscious decision is made by him or her to die or to end up his life and that person also ask for help from other to end up his life. Here the patient if giving the consent willfully.
• Involuntary euthanasia– in this sort or kind of euthanasia the decision is made by the person to end the life of another which is against that person or patient willingness. He or she is killed against his or her expressed wishes.
• Non voluntary euthanasia– in this any person is not or not able to give their consent on his own and another person take the decision on that person behalf.
There are various advantages and disadvantages also related to the concept of euthanasia like this euthanasia help to relieve the pain and this can also be helpful for the families to save money from the medical bills or other expenses related to medical. On the other or negative side there can be issues when we talk about the concept and the prediction which is done by the doctors can rarely accurate.
The term assisted suicide is too ambiguous. This has been a topic of discussion for a long time, for example whether assisted suicide should be allowed or not. Right now, the debate is mainly about the assets euthanasia rather than passive euthanasia. The dispute concerns the conflicts of interests: the interest of the company and that of the individual. The arguments for legalize the assisted suicide are:-
One school of thought argues that it should be allowed with the fact in mind that a person’s life is taken by his own consent. According to advocates of euthanasia the patients’ decision should be accepted. If on the on the other hand we weigh the social values with the individual interest then we will do it see clearly that here the interest of the individual will prevail over the interest of the society. The company aims at the interest of individuals indeed it is made with the aim to ensure a dignified and peaceful life for all. Now if the individual whoever is in unbearable pain cannot decide for himself then surely he will hinder his interest. In that case it will surely be a denial of his dignity and human rights. Regarding this debate from a legal point of view, Article 21 clearly plans to live in dignity. A person has the right to live at least one life with minimum dignity and if that standard falls below that minimum level, then a person should have the right to end her life. Advocates of active euthanasia claim that since society recognized the patient’s right to passive euthanasia, active euthanasia should similarly be allowed. When arguing in favor of legalizing assisted suicide, proponents point out circumstances in which a condition has become unduly burdensome for the patient, the pain management for the patient is inadequate and it seems that only death capable of bringing relief. Also, in light of the growing pressure on the hospital and medical facilities, it is argued that the same facilities should be used for the benefit of other patients who have a better chance of recovery and to whom the such structures would be of greater value. So, the argument works, when it has to choose between an irrecoverable patient and one that can be saved, the latter should be preferred as the former will die anyway. Euthanasia provides a way to relieve intolerably extreme pain and suffering an individual relieves the terminally ill from a slow death. It is not relives only the unbearable pain of a patient but also relieves the relatives of a patient from mental agony. Article 21 of our Constitution clearly provides for a dignified life. A person has the right to live a life with at least a minimum of dignity and if that standard is falling below that minimum level, then a person should have the right to end his life. Advocates of euthanasia also point out that as passive euthanasia has been allowed, in the same way active euthanasia must also be allowed. A patient will do it he wishes to end his life only in case of excessive agony and would rather die at painless death rather than living a miserable life with that agony and suffering. So, from a moral point of view, it will be better to let the patient die painless when in any case he knows he will die for it terminal illness.
Arguments which are against the legalization of assisted suicide– There is intense opposition from religious groups and lawyers and medical profession. According to them, it is not granting the “right to die” on the contrary it should be called “right to kill”. According to them it is totally against the doctor ethics. Medical ethics requires nursing, assistance and healing and not ending life of the patient. Nowadays, medical science is making great progress rhythm. Even the most incurable diseases are becoming treatable today. So instead to encourage a patient to end her life, doctors should encourage patients to lead their painful life with the strength it should be moral as well as physical. The decision to ask for euthanasia is not only made by the patient. Relatives of the patient also play an important role in this. Therefore, the patient is likely to be put under pressure and take such a drastic one step to end his life. Obviously in these cases the pressure is not physical, it is rather moral and psychological which turns out to be much stronger. Also added to this is the economic pressure. The patient begins to feel a burden on him relatives when they make such a decision for him and eventually he too succumbs now. Another favorite topic is that of the “slippery slope”. The slippery slope argument, in short, is that voluntary euthanasia would lead over the years to slip down the slippery slope and eventually we’d end up allowing too voluntary and non-voluntary euthanasia. Legalized euthanasia would put enormous social pressure on very vulnerable people people to “volunteer”, causing a lot of stress and suffering. Human life is a gift from God and taking life is wrong and immoral for human beings one cannot give the right to play the part of God. He who suffers pain is alone because of one’s karma. Thus euthanasia devalues human life Even without it being explicitly stated, legalizing euthanasia would mean that the state was offering it as an alternative to people they sought benefits for sickness or unemployment or retirees, refugees and people with disability. If it were legalized, why not insist that such people have “euthanasia counseling” before receiving treatment or benefits Whereas supporters of euthanasia are mostly members of the talkative class who seems to have difficulty dealing with his own mortality, the victims would be predominantly the most disadvantaged members of society- the elderly, the poor, the disabled, the infirm and the unemployed
THE LEGAL AND ETHICAL DISCREPANCIES
Here in the country like India, sacredness of life has been placed on the top or higher level. The makers of the constitution and also in the constitution of India provides the right to live and also major importance is given to it and also on other side state also provides the people the health care facilities to each and every citizen. According to Article 14 of the Indian constitution equality before the law prevails.
Here Article 21 of the Indian constitution plays an important role and it is about the protection of life and personal liberty. If someone attempt or try to take away the right to life of a person is punishable as an offence under the Indian Penal Code. There are also various provision are important in this matter. In the Indian Penal Code 1860, Section 299 basically tells us about the culpable homicide in which if any person causes death by doing any kind of act with any intention so that death can caused or any bodily injury as it is likely to cause death or with the knowledge that any act done will cause death is punishable under this section in Indian penal code. Hence in country like India it is illegal. If in any case any doctor there is any intention of him to kill the patient or for mercy killing this will be included in section 300 clause 1 Indian penal code and this killing will result to murder according to this section.
The concept which is there that is good faith is contradictory to the concept of euthanasia. This gives no protection to the mercy killer. If there is any physician who practices this euthanasia, he or she will be punished or charges under offence of Section 299 and can also be charged Section 304-A, this will depend that which method is used by him. If in any case the consent is given by the person or the deceased is voluntary in nature then Section 300 exception 5 will be applicable in this concept and the person who is a doctor or mercy killer who causes death will be punished under the Section 304 of Indian Penal Code which says that culpable homicide not amounting to murder. This section will only be applicable in the cases of voluntary euthanasia or when the person gives voluntary consent. Whereas this will not be applicable where there is involuntary or non- voluntary euthanasia. If in any case the other person of any relative of that person is involved who was aware about of such intent on the part of that physician then that person or relative will be punished or charged under Section 107 that is abetment of thing and also for the Section 202 of Indian Penal Code.
CURRENT STATUS IN INDIA
Towards Black and Hispanic Patients National Council on Disability Improvements in Palliative Care Palliative care is comfort care that offers relief, as opposed to curative care. Over the past decade, the field of palliative care has developed significantly. One aspect of palliative care is palliative sedation. In rare cases, when other forms of palliative care cannot relieve pain or significant discomfort, the patient may be sedated to the point where the discomfort is relieved during the dying process, in a way that does not cause or accelerate death. . This and other aspects of palliative care today can provide a significant legal solution. Ideal approaches to palliative care should include social and lifestyle interventions as well as medical supports. There has been a greater emphasis on cultural competence as the context in which palliative care should be understood and practiced. Probably, living with disability involves many cultural and social factors that should be addressed by professionals working with people with functional limitations (and their families) at the end of life. Improvements in palliative care have the potential to reduce demands for hastening death. Pain disability criminalization activist Anita Cameron wrote about how “Our country is in the midst of [palliative sedation] and other aspects of palliative care today [are] being tested by doctors for drug testing and counting pills and feel like they’re being treated like criminals. ”Cameron points out that the rooms for emergency treat these patients as drug addicts and drug seekers, so he argues that it’s easy to see that if assisted suicide It’s legal, that could increase demands for lethal drugs. To get a prescription to die of one for pain relief. Politicians should work to increase access to palliative care, not to pass laws that allow doctors. In fact, the media and the Centers for Disease Control have reported an increase in suicidal thinking and actual suicides among people with cro nico who are denied access to the American Medical Association, wrote about how patients often fear the prospect of pain without relief. Unfortunately, more doctors hold back pain medications because of unfounded concerns about the patient’s addiction or that higher dose can hasten death through respiratory suppression. Adequate pain relief, however, rarely does.
In the public opinion on voluntary euthanasia is beginning to change. In some of the western countries, there is strong public support for the assisted suicide or euthanasia in cases where patients are declared brain dead and those who are terminally ill. Along the same trend, the Honorable Supreme Court of India has expressed its view that passive euthanasia should be allowed in this country under certain stringent situations. The above opinion was expressed in a historic ruling in the case of Aruna Ramchandra Shanbang v. Union of India, (2011) 4 SCC 454. When a taboo is broken, it is often assumed that what takes place is a radical reduction of what may be called “normative pressure”. At first glance, one might even think that this must be true by definition; the very idea of the end of a taboo is that things that were previously unthinkable become thinkable and even feasible. Pessimists often see all of this as a decline in the level of civilization, a return to barbarism. The case of euthanasia offers a good opportunity to critically examine the whole idea.
(1) TOM L. BEAUCHAMP (2006) The Right to Die as the Triumph of Autonomy, Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, 31:6, 643-654
(2) Stephen Duckett. (2020) Pathos, death talk and palliative care in the assisted dying debate in Victoria, Australia Mortality 25:2, pages 151-166.
(3) Megan-Jane Johnstone. (2015) ‘Moral luck’ and the question of autonomy, choice, and control in end-of-life decision making. Progress in Palliative Care 23:3, pages 126-132.