Euthanasia in india research paper

Euthanasia has been legal in the Netherlands for long enough to show what can happen after the practice beds in. And as an end-of-life specialist in a nation that has for decades been the standard bearer of libertarian reform, Keizer may be a witness to the future that awaits us all. The momentum of euthanasia appears unstoppable; after Colombia , in , and the Australian state of Victoria , in , Spain may be the next big jurisdiction to legalise physician-assisted death, while one in six Americans the majority of them in California live in states where it is legal.

For many greying baby boomers — veterans of earlier struggles to legalise abortion and contraception — a civilised death at a time of their choosing is a right that the state should provide and regulate. Perhaps the most prominent of these sceptics is Theo Boer, who teaches ethics at the Theological University of Kampen. Between and , Boer was a member of one of the five regional boards that were set up to review every act of euthanasia and hand cases over to prosecutors if irregularities are detected. Each review board is composed of a lawyer, a doctor and an ethicist.

Recent government figures suggest that doubts over the direction of Dutch euthanasia are having an effect on the willingness of doctors to perform the procedure. In a related sign of a more hostile legal environment, shortly afterwards the judiciary announced the first prosecution of a doctor for malpractice while administering euthanasia. It is too early to say if euthanasia in the Netherlands has reached a high-water mark — and too early to say if the other countries that are currently making it easier to have an assisted death will also hesitate if the practice comes to be seen as too widespread.

We have put in motion something that we have now discovered has more consequences than we ever imagined. B ert Keizer carried out his first euthanasia in Back then, when he was working as a doctor in a care home, ending the life of a desperately ill person at their request was illegal, even if prosecutions were rare.


When a retired shoemaker called Antonius Albertus, who was dying of lung cancer, asked to be put out of his misery, Keizer found that two sides of himself — the law-abiding doctor and the altruist — were at odds. He injected 40mg of Valium into Antonius — enough to put him in a coma — then gave him the anti-respiratory drug that ended his life. Keizer was not investigated after reporting an unnatural death at his own hand, and his career did not suffer as he feared it might. But what, I asked him, had prompted him to break the law, and violate a principle — the preservation of life — that has defined medical ethics since Hippocrates?

Keizer paused to brush away a spider that had crawled uninvited on to my shoulder.


Over the past few decades the Bible has been increasingly sidelined, and the law has vindicated the young doctor who put Antonius to sleep. As people got used to the new law, the number of Dutch people being euthanised began to rise sharply, from under 2, in to almost 6, in Around the same number are estimated to have had their euthanasia request turned down as not conforming with the legal requirements. Also in , some 1, Dutch people killed themselves, while the number of people who died under palliative sedation — in theory, succumbing to their illness while cocooned from physical discomfort, but in practice often dying of dehydration while unconscious — hit an astonishing 32, Altogether, well over a quarter of all deaths in in the Netherlands were induced.

At the same time, murmurs of apprehension began to be heard, which, even in the marvellously decorous chamber of Dutch public debate, have risen in volume.

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Concerns centre on two issues with strong relevance to euthanasia: dementia and autonomy. Many Dutch people write advance directives that stipulate that if their mental state later deteriorates beyond a certain point — if, say, they are unable to recognise family members — they are to be euthanised regardless of whether they dissent from their original wishes. But Last January a medical ethicist called Berna Van Baarsen caused a stir when she resigned from one of the review boards in protest at the growing frequency with which dementia sufferers are being euthanised on the basis of a written directive that they are unable to confirm after losing their faculties.

Three further cases are currently under investigation. Whatever the legal merits of her argument, it hardly changes what must have been a scene of unutterable grimness. The underlying problem with the advance directives is that they imply the subordination of an irrational human being to their rational former self, essentially splitting a single person into two mutually opposed ones. Many doctors, having watched patients adapt to circumstances they had once expected to find intolerable, doubt whether anyone can accurately predict what they will want after their condition worsens.

The second conflict that has crept in as euthanasia has been normalised is a societal one. The growing divisions over euthanasia are being reflected in the deliberations of the review boards. Consensus is rarer than it was when the only cases that came before them involved patients with late-stage terminal illnesses, who were of sound mind. For Dutch GPs, fielding demands for euthanasia from assertive patients who resent the slightest reluctance on the part of their physician has become one of the more disagreeable aspects of their job.

Take a bottle of whisky and sit in your garden and we will find you tomorrow, because I cannot accept that you make me responsible for your own suicide. He has now stopped altogether. But when that person might have lived decades, what is always in your mind is that they might have found a new balance in their life.

Death on demand: has euthanasia gone too far?

I n November , Monique and Bert de Gooijer, a couple from Tilburg, became minor celebrities when a regional paper, the Brabants Dagblad, devoted an entire issue to the euthanasia of their son, an obese, darkly humorous, profoundly disturbed year-old called Eelco. His euthanasia was one of the first high-profile cases involving a young person suffering from mental illness.

Of the hundreds of reactions the newspaper received, most of them supportive, the one that made the biggest impression on the de Gooijers came from a woman whose daughter had gone out one day, taking the empty bottles to the store, and walked in front of a train. I have only questions. Privately, even surreptitiously undertaken, suicide leaves behind shattered lives.

Even when it goes according to plan, someone finds a body.

Nor had I fully savoured the irony that suicide, with its high risk of failure and collateral damage, was illegal across Europe until a few decades ago, while euthanasia, with its apparently more benign — at least, more manageable — consequences, remains illegal in most countries. Eelco was euthanised only after long thought and discussions with his family. He enjoyed a good laugh with the undertaker who had come to take his measurements for a super-size coffin. He was able to say farewell to everyone who loved him, and he died, as Monique and Bert assured me, at peace.

There might be a word for this kind of suicide, the kind that is acceptable to all parties. Call it consensual. He wanted to stop suffering, and death was the only way. After years of being examined by psychiatrists who made multiple diagnoses and prescribed a variety of ineffective remedies, he began pestering the doctors of Tilburg to end his life.

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  • Euthanasia in India.

Euthanasia is counted as a basic health service, covered by the monthly premium that every citizen pays to his or her insurance company. But doctors are within their rights not to carry it out. A small minority of doctors refuse to perform it for this reason, and others because of religious qualms.

Right to live right to die with dignity special context to euthanasia

Some simply cannot get their heads around the idea that they must kill people they came into medicine in order to save. As the most solemn and consequential intervention a Dutch physician can be asked to make, and this in a profession that aims to standardise responses to all eventualities, the decision to kill is oddly contingent on the mercurial human conscience. A category of euthanasia request that Dutch doctors commonly reject is that of a mentally ill person whose desire to die could be interpreted as a symptom of a treatable psychiatric disease — Eelco de Gooijer, in other words.

Eelco was turned down by two doctors in Tilburg; one of them balked at doing the deed because she was pregnant. Typically, and for the purposes of this paper, active euthanasia is defined as an act that requires the agent who brings about death to do so purposefully. This purposeful action can be the completion of some task or tasks to accomplish this specific end. Meanwhile, passive euthanasia comes about when the agent who brings about death, if an agent can be said to bring about death at all in these cases, does so by purposefully not acting to continue to sustain the life of the person who dies.

Any distinction in intention between active and passive euthanasia, supporters of active euthanasia argue, has been artificially created. On Friday, the Supreme Court of India again addressed the status of the right to die. The court will take up the matter again on February 1. A woman at the centre of a debate over euthanasia in India has died after 42 years in a minimally conscious state.

Euthanasia: Right to life vs right to die

In Aruna Shanbaug, a year-old nurse in Mumbai, was brutally assaulted and strangled by a contract cleaner. She did not die, but was left severely brain-damaged. In journalist Pinki Virani applied on her behalf for euthanasia. This, the justices insisted, was essential. There are doctors and doctors. While many doctors are upright, there are others who can do anything for money.

Reflecting on my past, my first introduction to research ethics came during the mids when I was a nursing student in my native Norway. I became fascinated by an ongoing and heated national debate regarding active and passive euthanasia. Zoom forward a couple of decades, following a move to the United States, I enrolled in an undergraduate medical ethics course at the University of Utah. The rest is history. I have been hooked ever since.

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