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HC declines plea to refer man’s case for allowing passive euthanasia to medical board 

INDHC declines plea to refer man’s case for allowing passive euthanasia to medical board 


The court noted that the man is not being kept alive ‘mechanically’ and is able to sustain himself without external aid.
| Photo Credit: File Photo

The High Court has declined to refer to a medical board the case of a 30-year-old man who suffered head injuries in 2013 and is lying in a vegetative state to undergo passive euthanasia.

The petitioner, a 30-year-old man, approached the court through his family. The plea said that the man suffered a fall from the fourth floor of a building 11 years ago and that since the incident he has been in a permanent vegetative state, with medical experts offering no hope of recovery.

The court noted that the man is not being kept alive “mechanically” and is able to sustain himself without external aid.

“The petitioner is not on any life support system and the petitioner is surviving without any external aid. While the court sympathises with the parents, as the petitioner is not terminally ill, this court cannot intervene and allow consideration of a prayer that is legally untenable,” Justice Subramonium Prasad said.

Passive euthanasia refers to intentionally letting a patient die by withholding artificial life support such as a ventilator or feeding tube.

“The petitioner is thus living and no one, including a physician, is permitted to cause the death of another person by administering any lethal drug, even if the objective is to relieve the patient from pain and suffering,” the court said.

The court added that it is not inclined to accept the request of the petitioner to refer him to a medical board to consider whether he could be allowed to undergo passive euthanasia.

The plea said the petitioner’s family has done its best to treat him, however, he has been confined to bed since 2013 due to a diffuse axonal injury and is 100% disabled. It added that the petitioner’s family has lost all hope of his recovery and that the parents are not in a position to take care of him as they are getting old.



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