Euthanasia: An Indian perspective

Soumya Basu, Vinod Kumar Sinha, Sujit Sarkhel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleOtherpeer-review

Abstract

In our society, the palliative care and quality of life issues in patients with terminal illnesses like advanced cancer and AIDS have become an important concern for clinicians. Parallel to this concern has arisen another controversial issue-euthanasia or “mercy –killing” of terminally ill patients. Proponents of physician-assisted suicide (PAS) feel that an individual's right to autonomy automatically entitles him to choose a painless death. The opponents feel that a physician's role in the death of an individual violates the central tenet of the medical profession. Moreover, undiagnosed depression and possibility of social ‘coercion’ in people asking for euthanasia put a further question mark on the ethical principles underlying such an act. These concerns have led to strict guidelines for implementing PAS. Assessment of the mental state of the person consenting to PAS becomes mandatory and here, the role of the psychiatrist becomes pivotal. Although considered illegal in our country, PAS has several advocates in the form of voluntary organizations like “death with dignity” foundation. This has got a fillip in the recent Honourable Supreme Court Judgment in the Aruna Shaunbag case. What remains to be seen is how long it takes before this sensitive issue rattles the Indian legislature.
Original languageEnglish
JournalIndian Journal of Psychiatry
Volume54
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Cite this

Basu, S., Sinha, V. K., & Sarkhel, S. (2012). Euthanasia: An Indian perspective. Indian Journal of Psychiatry, 54(2).
Basu, Soumya ; Sinha, Vinod Kumar ; Sarkhel, Sujit. / Euthanasia: An Indian perspective. In: Indian Journal of Psychiatry. 2012 ; Vol. 54, No. 2.
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Basu, S, Sinha, VK & Sarkhel, S 2012, 'Euthanasia: An Indian perspective', Indian Journal of Psychiatry, vol. 54, no. 2.

Euthanasia: An Indian perspective. / Basu, Soumya; Sinha, Vinod Kumar ; Sarkhel, Sujit.

In: Indian Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 54, No. 2, 2012.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleOtherpeer-review

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AU - Basu, Soumya

AU - Sinha, Vinod Kumar

AU - Sarkhel, Sujit

PY - 2012

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AB - In our society, the palliative care and quality of life issues in patients with terminal illnesses like advanced cancer and AIDS have become an important concern for clinicians. Parallel to this concern has arisen another controversial issue-euthanasia or “mercy –killing” of terminally ill patients. Proponents of physician-assisted suicide (PAS) feel that an individual's right to autonomy automatically entitles him to choose a painless death. The opponents feel that a physician's role in the death of an individual violates the central tenet of the medical profession. Moreover, undiagnosed depression and possibility of social ‘coercion’ in people asking for euthanasia put a further question mark on the ethical principles underlying such an act. These concerns have led to strict guidelines for implementing PAS. Assessment of the mental state of the person consenting to PAS becomes mandatory and here, the role of the psychiatrist becomes pivotal. Although considered illegal in our country, PAS has several advocates in the form of voluntary organizations like “death with dignity” foundation. This has got a fillip in the recent Honourable Supreme Court Judgment in the Aruna Shaunbag case. What remains to be seen is how long it takes before this sensitive issue rattles the Indian legislature.

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